First, I needed to follow up on my mother’s headstone. As my regular readers are aware, she passed away last year. Her memorial has now been installed; and I might add that the company that prepared and installed it did an excellent job.
Secondly, my stepfather had cataract surgery. Given that two of my uncles are overcoming recent illnesses, I needed to go down and see them all. Lastly, my twin interests in history in general and in genealogy in particular have combined to make me somewhat of the family historian. All of these reasons together compelled me to take some time to make a visit down to my home state of Georgia.
Of course, Georgia has changed a lot since I moved to Tennessee nearly two decades ago. The population has greatly increased. And with this has come numerous other changes. Each time I go home, there are more and more people, and thus more and more houses and businesses, and above all, traffic!
Traffic is so congested in Atlanta that, as is the case in most other large metropolitan areas, special traffic rules have been put into place. One of these is the HOV lane. For those from less congested parts of the nation, HOV stands for “High Occupancy Vehicle”.
In an attempt to discourage excess traffic and encourage carpooling, the left lanes of all three of Atlanta’s intersecting Interstate Expressways (I-75, I-85, and I-20) are all closed to any vehicle containing only one person (with the exception of motorcycles).
Thus, when headed down to my home town south of Atlanta with my wife, we took advantage of this lane, especially as it tends to keep moving swifter than its counterparts. We sailed right through Atlanta with little difficulty. However, on the way back north to Tennessee, my wife rode as far as the north Georgia Mountains with my sister, who was doing some buying for her home interior business.
This put me in a vehicle by myself. It also kept me out of the HOV lane. Even worse, it put me in a position of stop and go interstate traffic while I watched with envy those who were zipping by me in the HOV lane.
Only too late did I realize that this whole scenario might have been concocted by my sister before she asked my wife to ride with her – thus putting her in the fast lane while I was left to putt along in all the congestion! (If I were texting here, I would place the little emoji that is making the face like it is puzzling over something! Hmmmm!!!)
But the Lord used this experience to speak to me. To begin with, as we make our way through life, we can either travel alone or with others. This much is clear. Travelling with others is much preferable to travelling alone!
However, even when we are alone, we do not have to be. For in the New Testament Book of Hebrews (chapter 13, verse 5), our Lord has promised never to leave us nor to forsake us. Imagine that! The resurrected Savior and Lord of all creation, Jesus Christ Himself, has given us His personal promise to abide with us!
And for this reason, no matter what we come against, no matter the difficulty, no matter the struggle, no matter the opposition, we do not face it alone! God Himself is here with us, empowering and encouraging us as we go forth to victory!
Most of those zipping by me last week in the HOV lane were doing just that - they were zipping on by. I envied them for that. But more significantly, they were merrily interacting with others as they did. I envied them even more for this!
That is not to say that they did not have difficulties themselves, that they did not have deadlines to meet, or that they did not have frustrations or fears of their own to face. It is to say that, as they were travelling along, they were not travelling alone! They each had a companion for their journey.
And as I go through life, I am well aware that I will always face my own share of difficulties. Being a born-again believer does not keep me from facing my own fears and frustrations. But this much I know – because of Jesus Christ, I do not have to face these things alone! While I may be beset with the traffic of life all around me, I am not boxed in. Nor do I have to bog down with the burden.
Rather, together with my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, I can make my way forward on the road of life with a peace that passes all understanding. And the sole difference is His very presence with me as I journey along! The same can be true for you.
This being March 18, I leave you with the famed prayer of St. Patrick, who is purported to have prayed:
I arise today
Through the strength of heaven;
Light of the sun,
Splendor of fire,
Speed of lightning,
Swiftness of the wind,
Depth of the sea,
Stability of the earth,
Firmness of the rock.
I arise today
Through God's strength to pilot me;
God's might to uphold me,
God's wisdom to guide me,
God's eye to look before me,
God's ear to hear me,
God's word to speak for me,
God's hand to guard me,
God's way to lie before me,
God's shield to protect me,
God's hosts to save me
Afar and anear,
Alone or in a multitude.
Christ shield me today
Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down,
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in the eye that sees me,
Christ in the ear that hears me.
I arise today
Through the mighty strength
of the Lord of creation.
PRAYER OF PATRICK SOURCE: