We have been on the road for several days now and just completed our trip to visit Williamsburg and conduct a little business in addition to seeing family. This afternoon we headed out to drive west to our favorite place on the planet – the Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. I know…those of you who have been readers for a while are probably wondering whether I am going to extol some other virtue of this wonderful place, but that is not the case tonight. Because Janet and I have been looking forward to this trip for the purposes of self reflection, prayer, inquiry and patience as we wait for God to reveal the next step in our journey.
That is easy for us here – no stress and we are so familiar with this place that relaxation comes almost at once. But we did have an interesting time getting here and therein lies the lesson for this evening. You see, when we left home Thursday, we made it all the way to Charlottesville, VA and then made the balance of the trip to Williamsburg on Friday morning. East of Charlottesville – and west of Richmond, VA, on Route 64, there is a stretch of road that has to be the most boring drive in the country.
I know passing the cornfields of Indiana and Illinois can tax one’s ability to concentrate on the road, but the road to Richmond is even more daunting. That’s because there is no visual relief. Two lanes head in each direction, separated by a stand of tall trees. And, of course, the right edge of the road is also lined with trees – for many miles. What this means is that driving this stretch can be very tiring. Because as far as you can see in the distance, all you see are the tall trees lining the road on both sides.
It’s kind of like driving in a very long tunnel – after a time it is tough to stay focused because you are concentrating so hard on not making a mistake – and the view never changes. Once you arrive in Richmond, things change and you can once again see the horizon and the city around you. The forest continues east of Richmond all the way to Williamsburg, but by this time we were getting excited about arriving at our destination so it wasn’t quite as boring. And I think about these stretches of road each time we visit the Williamsburg area.
But today, heading back to West Virginia, we once again encountered that dreaded stretch of road that almost defies description. Thankfully, it was only a four hour drive – and some of that was regular road traversing the mountains of eastern Virginia and seeing portions of the scenery that are absolutely breathtaking – a real window into God’s creation.
Arriving at the Greenbrier gave us a moment to once again be grateful. And here I sit this evening, peacefully writing and enjoying the tranquility. But I can’t seem to get my mind off that stretch of road. It always is a challenge for me to stay focused with the monotony of the journey. It reminded me of God’s expectation of us. After all, the apostle Paul reminds us through his writings to stay focused on God and not lose sight of the prize that awaits us. There are also reminders to run the good race.
But doing that isn’t monotonous. In fact, it is peaceful and restful to focus on Jesus and try to become more like Him. Rather than the trance-like state of driving around Richmond, being focused on God can be exciting and instills a sense of wonder. In fact, how many times I have wanted God to act faster than He is prepared to reveal Himself to me! It will be interesting to see what the next few days bring in the way of revelation from God.
The verse this evening is from the author of the book of Hebrews. While many scholars believe Paul wrote this book, there is little evidence to support that position and so Hebrews remains one of the few books in the Canon that still sparks theological debate on its authorship. Whoever wrote the book, the messages contained in its pages are full of wisdom. We are told, in Hebrews 12:2, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
My encouragement this evening is that God, and His Son, Jesus, want us to focus on them. By being in alignment with God we can be assured that we are making the biggest and best contribution to the cause of Christianity. My prayer is that you will stop and focus on the desires of the Father. Life makes so many demands on our time that sometimes we forget the most important things we should concentrate on. I can assure you that your relationship with God is something that shouldn’t go on the back burner. In fact, communion with God should be the highlight of your day – it sets the stage for every other relationship you have! Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…