Like many of you, I’ve traveled lots of roads in my lifetime. As a youngster, most were dirt or gravel roads and backwoods paths. Around six years of age, I spent most days as far away from my home as possible. If I wasn’t at school, then I was most likely exploring the woods all around me. In reality, I was hiding from those who didn’t seem to want me around much. I thought I was better off alone, but the funny thing was, I never felt alone.
I couldn’t tell you how I knew, or who it was, but I would talk aloud to God as I wandered about or sat on a tree stump or limb. The family went to church on Sunday mornings, but the God I kept hearing about scared the bejeebers out of me. To this tow-headed little boy, they presented God as a vengeful, mean God who was just waiting for me to mess up so He could send me to hell. Jesus, His Son, was the nice one. He died for my sins so that God wouldn’t send me to hell. I’m not sure, but I bet I was talking to Jesus during those walks more than I was talking to God. I didn’t understand then that they were the same. They never mentioned words like triune and trinity. God didn’t answer me directly in those days, but I sure felt better having someone to talk to.
Looking back on my young life, I can tell you of specific instances where God answered me. There were many times where what I was talking about with Him happened. I didn’t realize it was God who sent those empty pop bottles I could collect and redeem for a writing tablet or candy. And I could have never imagined that my gruff old grandfather, who made it a point to take me with him whenever he was training a rabbit dog, was God-sent. While gruff and short-tempered around others, when he and I would go out into the fields and woods near his home, he was always patient, soft-spoken, and gentle.
Then there was my older, quiet, and sweet aunt who lived with my grandparents. Like me, she didn’t look like them. Unlike my siblings, or half-siblings, she would laugh and play. Our favorite was a new game called Twister. Who else remembers, “left-hand yellow, right-foot green?” Before long, we would tumble into a heaping pile of laughter on the back porch.
Growing older, I found myself on treacherous, twisting, and winding roads with blind curves that were fraught with danger. My independent streak took over, and I would not surrender to the things others did to me. I learned to fight back. None of those battles were ever won, but I was determined to fight them. Laying on the floor in pain, tears streaming, I quietly asked my pal God for a family that would love me. I longed to be kissed goodnight, like the others. I wanted hugs. And I was determined that one day I would find a family that loved me.We travel many roads in this life. The key isn’t the road, but Who we travel with. #WalkingWithGod #JourneyWithJesus #TheRoadBestTraveled Click To Tweet
After my adoption, the roads seemed to straighten out and become smoother. They were mostly two-lane city streets, highways, and by-ways, but I still talked to my invisible God as I was learning to drive. It was a good thing God was with me when I was driving. Good for me, but not for my beautiful Mustang, or the little Ford Maverick. Maybe that’s why my new dad nicknamed me “Crash.”
Even in my teens, I got away to Mary Holland Park or one of the other quiet parks in our “City of Oaks and Azaleas” whenever I could. Nature has always been a place of peace and tranquility for my soul. I learned to listen for my friend, God, in the wind, songs of birds, and the rustling of leaves. As I talked out my troubles, He patiently listened, and I learned He didn’t always have to say anything, He could just show me what He wanted me to see. That quiet time with Him always brought me a sense of peace and wellbeing. When I finally listened to His call upon my heart and surrendered to Him in salvation, I found I didn’t have to find Him in nature. He was still there in nature, but He was now always with me, and if I focused on Him, I could hear His leading.
As an adult, I traveled eight-lane super highways that caused me to whiz by life so quickly, I seldom ever found time to seek Him. I thought that’s the way it was supposed to be. It seemed what everyone else was doing. What I never realized at the time was life had become so distracted, I never needed God. I was too busy trying to gain worldly treasures that I was losing out on the greatest gifts He was offering.
It took some years—I often lament that they were too many—but I found myself alone again and I sought to reconcile myself with my old friend. This time I came to Him not as a scared and scarred child, but as an angry, disillusioned, and distrustful man of the world. How could a God who loved me allow so many bad things to happen? Divorce, death, leaving behind everything and everyone I had grown to love? How could God do this to me?
Mindful of Jacob’s battle with God (Genesis 32), I was determined to have it out with Him. Instead of a “Jacob moment”, I ended up having a “Job moment” (Job 38), and it changed my life forever. For the first time in my life, I had fully surrendered to God. I realized what a mess I had made on my own, so it was time to let Him drive.Surrendering your life to God does two things. It places Him on the throne of your life and it releases you from the burden of this life. #SurrenderIsFreedom Click To Tweet
These days, the older me is back to meandering among the trees and walking down dirt and gravel roads. I’ve come full circle perhaps, but the journey has freed me of so much emotional baggage and battle scars that I no longer walk burdened with life. Don’t get me wrong, life still has its moments of burden, worry, and pain. I’ve learned, though, that during my walks with my old friend, He encourages me to surrender them to Him.Do you know a load-carrying God? You should. #GodCarriesYourLoad #TheRoadBestTraveled Click To Tweet
Many call it “prayer walking.” I guess it is. I’ve never considered it prayer, but a conversation with a trusted friend who has been by my side my whole life. I didn’t always know it or acknowledge it, but He was always there calling to me, inviting me to come chat.
I still hear and see Him all around me here at our Cross-Dubya Ranch. I see His love when my donkeys tenderly reach out to kiss my dog in the pasture each morning. I see His faithfulness in the calves that He has blessed us with as they grow up strong and healthy. His love for my family is clear in His constant provision, giving us everything we need. We don’t always recognize it because we’ll want to focus on our wants and desires more than what He wants and desires for us. But, I think, that’s why the dirt roads and pathways that crisscross the land are always beckoning me to come take a stroll with my Lord. Strolling through this life with God is most certainly, The Road Best Traveled.
Please join me this Thursday evening at 9:00 Eastern as host Coach Mark Prasek and I take a trip Around the Cross-Dubya on PJNET TV. We discuss this week’s blog post, offer insight about the lessons learned, and enjoy the fellowship of friends in the live chat room.