Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The End of the Road (or, Theology To Go)

June 19th, 2006
I set out from Kelly Latte's this afternoon with only the intention of going somewhere quiet to drink my mocha and be alone with God awhile. I thought of Lake Meridian, not thinking of the fact that it's a June afternoon and the possibility that God had other plans. He obviously did, because the lake was packed. I've never liked crowds. I drove once around the parking lot, then paused at the exit. Left or right? Right would take me back home, but something told me, "left."

I turned left onto Kent Kangley and as I drove through Covington it occurred to me that I had no idea where I was going. God did, though. "Follow that truck." I did.

The truck drove through the traffic of Covington and continued on toward Maple Valley and as I followed, God and I had a conversation. Well, mostly I asked Him where I was going and mostly He didn't tell me. "Just trust Me," He said.

"Fine!" I said, and drove on.

A melting pot of emotions and thoughts I've expressed to God time and again in the past, though never all at the same time, came rushing in and I began asking Him where I was going again, though this time not literally.

Again He said, "Just trust Me."

Then it got philosophical. "I know I should trust You, God, I know it makes sense and really when you think about it, following You and giving You everything is the smart thing to do and I always try to do the smart thing and You know that because You made me this way and I want to believe that I can completely give up everything to You and that You're the only reason for living and that I shouldn't follow my heart but Yours, but really, my heart should be Your heart, and I know all of this. I know it. I don't need proof because it's right here in front of my eyes. What I need is faith, because even though I know all of this, I just can't quite seem to believe it." All this I intimated to God in a jumble of words and half-finished phrases and in about five seconds. Isn't that funny, how our words can make no sense at all, yet God knows exactly what we mean?

God said, "Just keep driving." I did.

Then I passed the Mormon church at Four Corners and I said, "What's their deal, God?"

"They don't even know," He answered. "They're confused. They have faith and works all jumbled up and they don't realize that salvation is already theirs. They're making it impossible for themselves, not realizing that with Me, all things are possible. Kind of like what you're doing right now."

Well! Just tell it like it is! Thankfully, I was stopped at a red light at that point. The light turned green and I eased slowly on the gas pedal, going through the intersection in spiritual silence for a few minutes before the words of a song on the radio broke through my reverie: "Let go, let go, just jump in..."

Merely curious this time, I again asked God where I was going. "Just keep driving," He said. "I want to show you something."

I was still following the truck. I was past Maple Valley now and in one of those little towns. Ravensdale, I think. The mountains rose up before me, green before summer's dry heat sets in, the tops shrouded in a mist of clouds perforated by beams of sunlight.

A new song was on the radio now. "It's a winding road... I still don't know where it goes... It's a long way home. I've been searching for a long time, but I still have hope... I'm gonna find my way home..."

"Is this what you wanted me to see?" I whispered, tears pooling in my eyelashes.
"Yes..."

For some reason I burst out laughing. "This is beautiful, God," still smiling, at peace for a moment.

Then, "Should I turn around and go home now?"

"Not yet."

"How will I know when it's time, when I've reached my destination?" In essence, "How will I know?"

"You'll know."

Frustrated, "How will I know? Will there be a sign or something?"

Again, "You'll know."

Sigh.

Five minutes later I saw a paper plate tacked to a signpost with one word on it: "DONE." I laughed, turned around and drove home.


August 2nd, 2006
Today I drove all the way to the end of that road. I drove though forests and hills and more little towns than I could count, twisting and turning like any good country road should. Then, there it was. The end of the road, just a gravel driveway leading up to a little blue house, and three kids jumping on a trampoline in the back yard. I wonder if they know that they live at the end of the road, or if they care. In knowing, would they gain anything?

I'd wondered for ages (okay, months) what was at the end of that road, and they had known all along and didn't care. I think we all find the same thing at the end of our road, no matter what we find. We want to know so bad, but when we find out...

"Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know what he ought to know. But the man who loves God is known by God." - Paul of Tarsus

...we find we don't need to know everything.

3 comments:

katie said...

rhonda, i admire your patience and faith to just trust God and keep on driving. it's amazing how God always knows what He's doing and always knows the end of the road. He knows the rest of our lives and i don't even know what i'm doing tomorrow...ha.

Matt said...

Rhonda:

When are YOU going to write a book?

Frances said...

I read your article with a smile on my face and tears in my eyes. It was a beautiful reminder that we are all so dependent on God's grace, guidance and direction if we want to find that road He has lovingly prepared for us. All we have to do is trust His 'driving' directions.