Are We There Yet Dad?

Be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?” Hebrews 13:5b-6 ESV

When our two boys were about four and six years old, my wife and I decided to travel cross country to stay with some friends, while enjoying a bit of camping along the way. “Okay guys we are going to Missouri.” I explained to the boys. “We will be traveling for three days and will be sleeping in our tents for two nights along the way. Don’t worry about when we get there, just enjoy the ride, play games and don’t fight! “I told them enthusiastically.

The next morning with our little car packed to the max, we headed down the highway. I felt confident we were well prepared for our first big family road trip until about twenty minutes down the highway when our older son tapped me on the shoulder and asked.  Hey Dad. Are we there yet?” I can’t remember if I laughed or cried, but either way I saw that, despite my best efforts, I had not communicated very well with our boys about the road ahead. I am sure many of you have experienced this same scenario and have discovered that whether we laugh, pull our hair out or try repeating our explanations, our kids aren’t satisfied with details. What they really want is a regular assurance that everything is okay – every mile along the way. It is the same with us as we travel the Christian life with God. But the wonderful difference between God and me is that He didn’t just give us an explanation of the road map; He promised to stay with us and guide us every mile along the way!

The Journey of Two Parrots

Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. John 14:1-3 KJV

I always loved owning a pick-up truck, but that blessing brings with it the fringe benefit of being asked to help every time one of your friends moves. So on a chilly winter day, as I was stacking as many boxes, bags and other assorted things into my truck as possible I wondered again why non-truck owners assume that pick-ups are capable of hauling living room sets, refrigerators and washing machines all in the same load. By the third trip I was just hoping we were on the last run when we got around to some final boxes. To her credit, our friend Susan, had already transported her dog, a couple of cats and a fish tank in her car. But along with her last boxes were two large cages with her parrots. “Can they ride up front with you?” Susan asked me as I started carrying out the first.

“I don’t know, I think there is only room for one.” I wearily answered. So after plopping bird #1 on the passenger seat and buckling him in, I proceed to wedge bird #2 in between boxes in back and covering him carefully with a blanket. “He’ll be fine! ” I assured her with an unconvincing smile. Ten miles down the road I was hoping my words of comfort would be true as the temperature of Northeastern Pennsylvania in December is a bit lower than their native Brazil. Parrot #1 who rode up front dozed off in the warm cab and napped most the way to his new home. But as I pulled in front of Susan’s new place I was just hoping that Parrot #2 was still alive. As quickly as I could I jumped out, unlashed his cage, and gently carried him into the house. When we pulled back the blanket, thankfully we discovered that our parrot was fine, but cringing in silence, fearfully looking around, wondering what the heck just happened!

Those feathered friends reminded me of my own journey with Jesus. Unlike myself, Jesus has plenty of room for me to ride up front in his cab. If I choose, I can journey close by His side, can listen to His voice, and leave the driving to Him. But for all kinds of different reasons there are times when I decide to ride in the back. I am still in the same truck headed in the same destination, but on those trips I am missing the joy of traveling close to Jesus. I don’t need to be trembling at every sound and frozen in fear till the moment God pulls back the blanket in heaven. He has room up front for everyone who knows Him as Lord and Savior, which is why He said, “Don’t let your heart be troubled.” He has given us all the privilege of asking, “Father, I believe in you and love you with all my heart. Can I ride with You today?” He is delighted to carry every one of us, up front and close by His side!

Photo by Eneida Nieves on Pexels.com

Bearing Fruit

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7‭-‬8 ESV

A tree in a commercial orchard is as pampered as any king or queen on planet earth. It is planted in the best soil, fertilized and kept free from weeds. In the growing season it is sprayed and treated every 10 days to guard it from pests and disease and irrigated in drought. Yet with all the advantages the farmer gives it, there are years when the harvest fails because of a late frost, an unexpected new disease or a late snowfall. Ultimately the farmer may do his best but only God is really in charge of the results.

The same is true in our lives. As today’s verse tells us, our fruitfulness is dependent on only one thing. We must decide to trust the Lord. Unexpected events and even calamity strike without notice. But God is never taken by surprise. Are you trusting in His care? Is He the stream your soul drinks from? Is He the keeper of your heart?