Friday, 18 January 2013

Lessons on the Road 7

Chat#7: Help Along the Way

I put about 25,000 kilometres on my vehicle each year. That has been enough to get me into every Canadian province and 23 states in the U.S.A. Along the way I’ve discovered that there are many kind-hearted people who eagerly come alongside to help when a driver is in trouble. One of my most memorable is the day our family set out for vacation towing a boat (which was loaded with luggage) on a boat trailer. Driving through a patch of construction the road was so rough and the load so heavy that the trailer axel broke in two. The road crew saw our predicament and came to our aid. They untied my boat, emptied its contents, lifted it off the trailer and turned the trailer upside down. They then came alongside with a pickup that carried a portable welder. In a matter of minutes they had the axel repaired and then put the boat and luggage back on the trailer for me. The only thing they would accept was my deep-hearted thanks.

 As we go through life, there are times when we break down. The road is too rough. The load too heavy. We are stopped and can’t go anywhere. Then God sends our way a person or persons who come alongside to help. At such times we can protest and say no, we can handle things ourselves or we can admit our need and let that person minister to us. Sometimes it’s a matter of simply sharing the burden. Sometimes it requires a complete repair job. The men who repaired my boat trailer were concerned, qualified, and willing to help. I would have been a fool to turn down their help. When God sends someone into your life who can give you real help in your time of need, don’t turn them away, but smile and say, “Thanks, I appreciate that.”

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Lessons on the Road 6

Towing a Trailer

 Over the years I have owned and towed a number of trailers, starting with a fold down, soft-top camper, then graduating to a fold down, fibreglass-top camper, then moving up to a fold down, hard-top camper. Eventually I acquired a real (albeit it small, as in tiny) hard side house trailer complete with washroom, electricity, and stove. In addition I have owned several boat trailers over the years. I have towed said trailers from Newfoundland to British Columbia. I have learned several things—they can be dangerous, and they can be a strain on your vehicle, they definitely slow you down, but they can also be fun.

 In life we sometimes hear people referring to the baggage that they drag with them. Like a trailer, they are referring to the things that are behind them. Tennyson in his poem Ulysses wrote, “I am a part of all that I have met.” Every person we’ve met and every experience we’ve had has added to who we are. Some have put a strain on our life. Some have slowed us down or even stopped us in our tracks. Some have added much pleasure to our life. Wisdom is knowing what to hitch to our lives to make the journey more complete.

 Joshua 18:6
“Go in peace. Your journey has the Lord’s approval.”

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Lessons on the Road 5

Chat #5: Using a GPS

 The GPS (Global Positioning System) has to be one of the most intriguing inventions of the information age. I was first introduced to this by a friend who was visiting our house. We walked around the block together as he held a battery-operated GPS. A little dot on the map showed our progress as we walked. Later, another friend demonstrated his GPS in his car as a disembodied voice gave him instructions as to where to go. It wasn’t long after that that my wife gave me a GPS for Christmas. It is both comforting and scary to think that somewhere hundreds of miles out in space a group of satellites is tracking my every move—at least when I have the device turned on.  It’s scary because it means my privacy is reduced, but it’s comforting to know that I can never really be lost.


Every day we travel into the unknown. We wake up in the morning and we don’t know what a day will hold. We have plans, but we are never sure if they will unfold the way we hope. Unexpected things happen. Life takes a sudden turn. We have to detour. As Christians it is good to know that we are never alone because God has promised to be with us always. For us GPS means God’s Positioning System. He not only knows where we are at all times—He is in fact with us at all times. He is not out there in space keeping track of us—He is beside us and in us, guiding us all the way Home.


Psalm 32:8

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.

Friday, 21 December 2012

Lessons on the Road 4

Chat #4: Maps

I love using maps when I’m travelling. Maps give you a broad picture of where you are relative to everything else. When you pull in to a rest stop and spread out your map on a picnic table it is very satisfying to plot your progress, to see how far you’ve come and what lies ahead to be explored. You can see mountains and lakes, towns and cities, highways and byways. It’s as if the whole world is spread out before you and you can choose to go wherever you want. That’s exciting.

Back in the 1960’s when I graduated from high school it seemed that life was like that. I had the whole world spread out before me. I could go anywhere I wanted to. I could do anything I wanted to—at least I thought I could. My first choice was to go to university. Then I chose to go teaching. Then I felt a calling to travel one particular road, the road of ministry, and so I became an officer in The Salvation Army. Last year, after 44 years on the road, I retired. Now the map is back on the table. Once more I have choices. That’s exciting.

Isaiah 30:21 (NIV)
Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Lessons on the Road 3

Chat #3: The Long Distance Trip

It has been said that when you are travelling, getting there is half the fun. The other half is doing what you plan to do once you get there. If “getting there” is indeed half the fun than we should plan the trip well. I have made return road trips from Toronto to Vancouver Island, from Toronto to St. John’s, and from Toronto to Florida. Besides my wife, I have had kids, a dog, and a cat at various times and in various combinations. Sometimes I have driven around the clock, and sometimes taken almost a week to get to the destination. The secret to enjoying the trip is planning and preparation. Taking time to do this will add fun to the experience.

As Christians we anticipate the end of our journey. We look forward to Heaven. But what about the “getting there” part? Do we have to wait until we get there before we experience happiness? I don’t think so. Jesus said that He came to give us “abundant life.” He said He came to give us His joy. The Bible contains many verses about God’s faithful having the “joy of the Lord.” Like any road trip there will be times when we experience bumps on the road, but in spite of that travelling with Jesus is a joy-filled experience. Begin each day with God. Plan with Him what you will do today. And don’t wait for Heaven before you begin to laugh.

1 Peter 1:8 (NIV)
Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy,

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Lessons on the Road 2

Chat #2: The Day Trip

Aah, the day trip. Leaving home after breakfast, enjoying the scenery or a country fair or a visit with friends and returning home to your own bed at night. Those pleasant little trips are something to be treasured. They are fun for the whole family and they generally don’t cost a lot. Even with today’s high fuel prices, a day trip is still an economical way to have fun. My wife and I have taken such trips often, sometimes they turn into berry-picking activities, sometimes a picnic, and sometimes we even throw in a little fishing. But most time its just “oohing and awing” at God’s creation.

In life, we should take time to relax and enjoy what we have. God never meant for us to always be in a rush, to always be spending and acquiring. We should take time to enjoy one another and enjoy the world around us—as the old adage says, “Take time to smell the roses.” Take time with family and friends. Take time to get to know your fellow church members as real people. Take time to appreciate all that God has provided. And don’t forget to thank Him for it all.

Mark 6:31 (NIV)
Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”

Monday, 17 December 2012

Lessons on the Road 1

Chat #1: Planning the trip

I’ve been driving (with a licence) since 1967 when I bought a brand new Suzuki motorcycle from some of the money I earned as a school teacher. Since then I have bought almost a dozen vehicles (if you count an old RV I once owned) and have driven from coast to coast in Canada several times and in a good number of the states in the U.S.A. Over the years I’ve learned a few things, some the hard way, and I hope to share some of this in the chats that will follow. I have learned that some of the “road lessons” are also “life lessons.”
Lesson number one: plan your trip. It’s a lot of fun getting out maps and brochures and talking with your family about the upcoming trip, especially if it’s to a place you’ve never been before. Plan how long you will drive each day. Plan where you will stop for the night. Plan what you will do along the way. With a good plan in place your trip will be exciting and fun.
Life lesson: a lot of people go through life with no aim or ambition. They let the forces around them drive them. As a result their life is unsatisfactory and they accomplish little. The Bible says that God has a plan for our life. This does not mean that everything that happens to us is God’s will, but it does mean that God will give us direction. Then it’s up to us to follow His plan. Wherever you are in your life you can stop, get out the roadmap and ask God, “Where to from here”?

Jeremiah 29:11(NIV)
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.