I recently read Judah Smith's book, How's Your Soul? In his devotional by the same title, Judah shares an instance when he bought an ATV and he initially thought there was something wrong with it. "The engine ran too loud and rough." The gears felt jerky." After talking about it with some friends, he simply learned that an ATV is not a golf cart made for riding on smooth terrain, but rather All-Terrains. "This was made for off-road use, not for streets."
Judah goes on to say. "Sometimes I think we want the same thing from our faith and our relationship with Jesus that I wanted from my ATV. We want safe, quiet and controlled lives. We want to stay on the road. Risk? Forget it! Adventure? Thank you, but no. Unpredictability? Too scary. And yet, our faith was made for off-road use. Our souls were designed to follow God around hairpin turns and along breathtaking cliffs. "
This devotional resonated with me and I began to think what living "off-road" has meant to me. Here are some thoughts.
Off-road is moving to a different continent and learning a new language, customs.
Off-road is working at a pregnancy support center when I can't have my own children.
Off-road is being fired from a ministry job that I was giving my whole heart to.
Off-road is missing birthdays, weddings, funerals of loved ones, because my journey off-road is too far from home.
Off-road is holding a sister-in-Christ's hand as she's dying.
Off-road is staying on the phone in silence, prayer and tears with a friend whose life is breaking to pieces.
Off-road is having strangers in my home and opening my heart to welcome them as friends.
Off-road is finding a home and a family far from my original one.
My journey has taken me to painful and somber places, but it has also brought me joy and fulfillment beyond my wildest dreams. People have not always felt safe but I have experienced love and friendship in deep ways. I trust God has the best plan. I trust His goodness and heart. Even in disappointments and hurt, His hope abounds. In days where darkness seems to take over, the light of his purpose shines through.
After thinking about it, I don't believe there is an other kind of faith than the one that takes you off-road! I want to grow in self-forgetfulness and self-abandonment in the arms of the Father.
How about you? Do you trust God in the off-road life situations? How are you practicing this faith in your life?
Judah adds, "Life with Jesus is an adventure, and we'll be frustrated if we think he will always keep us on the road."