It was a summer years ago. I arrived home on a hot August afternoon and sitting inside the cool of my car in the parking lot. Feeling overwhelmed, my mind raced as through a maze as I looked through the front window of my car. The strangeness of it all. I reflected as to the heavy load I continually carried on a daily basis. A load with a road of its own. Leading me without a sense of direction. I am always, constantly, alone. No one else. All by myself. “When will it cease?” I asked God. Will the day ever come, or will I be overcome by it? My soul longed for a taste of rest but if for only a moment. Dear Lord God, “How long must I go on like this?” The pressure of the load of life deepened the path I walked. Where else must I step?
I had just registered for my internship at Dallas Theological Seminary. It would require that I drive twenty roundtrips from Houston to Dallas in a one day period for twenty weeks over the upcoming academic year in order to teach classes to the public. I was overwhelmed by the pressure of an additional commitment to an already thin-stretched life. Most days I felt as a walking skeleton. My body hollowed out from the constant pressures that would eat away at my internality. I had no more of me to give. A heart merely for passing blood through my veins ensuring that I would yet live another day. No matter the weightiness of the load the bow never seemed to break, a welcoming sign for yet more. For several years my life was burdened with a full-time demanding career, taking two classes a week at the Houston campus, and being a care-giver to my widowed father. The thought of adding weekly travel to my schedule was more than time would allow, much less the physical demands it would place upon me.
Tactically, I measured out not only the financial cost and my responsibilities, but the time factor involved with taking these day-trips. It meant I would arrive home in Houston after midnight. Being safety conscious I recognized the susceptibility of the dangers on the road that could await me. As I inhaled and took in the breath of this burden something happened. I felt a strong presence of the Spirit of the Lord. And something like a wind rushed through me on the inside, followed by something of a shield that wrapped around me with the strength of peace. Tears filled my eyes and fell like rain drops down a flower’s petals. Then words came to me. The Spirit of the Lord saying, “you will be well.”
By the end of the spring semester, I completed all twenty trips, on-schedule, and arriving home safely each time. Despite experiencing fatigue, hunger, illness, unforeseen degradation of my car’s tires, near miss collisions, being run off my lane twice in two minutes, eighteen wheelers unexpectedly shredding steel-belted tires like bullets shooting my way, deer dodging vehicles as though as children on pogo-sticks at dusk, and harassment on the road by a convoy of cars, I was well.
But there is one God. Only God. There is no other and no one else. God alone.
You, God, only You.
“O LORD, Thou hast searched me and known me.
Thou dost know when I sit down and when I rise up; Thou dost understand my thought from afar.
Thou dost scrutinize my path and my lying down, And art intimately acquainted with all my ways.
Even before there is a word on my tongue, Behold, O LORD, Thou dost know it all.
Thou has enclosed me behind and before, And laid thy hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is too high, I cannot attain to it.
Where can I go from Thy Spirit? Or where can I flee from Thy presence?
If I ascend to heaven, Thou art there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, Thou art there.
If I take the wings of the dawn, If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, Even there Thy hand will lead
me, And thy right hand will lay hold of me.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will overwhelm me, And the light around me will be night,”
Even the darkness is not dark to Thee, And the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are alike to Thee. For Thou didst form my inward parts; Thou didst weave me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to Thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Thy works, And my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from Thee, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth. Thine eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Thy book they were all written, The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them.”
(Psalm 139: 1-16)
Photo credit: The author driving to Dallas.
Copyright 2018 The Word in Motion