2,500 miles in four days. I had four days of driving, just driving. Newly engaged and only having returned from China a week previously, it would be a great chance to have some time with myself and God as I processed the trip and this next step in life. Detouring slightly after I picked up the van in Queens, New York I quickly became distracted by a tall green lady. It was my first time seeing the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island both. Humbly I walked through the echoing halls and stared at pictures and monuments of people both lifetimes and worlds away from how I live. With rarely anything to eat they worked for little pay and brought home nothing most days. No stopping by the grocery store; there wasn't much there and if there was something to buy they didn't have enough money. Taken advantage of, lied to and mistreated daily by the citizens and government of this bright new land they struggled.
I left Ellis Island with my heart heavy and marveling at how much progress we've made since then, how far we've really come.
And then I drove. Drove and drove and drove. The miles crawled underneath the 2005 Toyota Sierra and snowy New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Ohio crawled by. Often I breathed in deep the warm air in the enclosed cell of protection the van I was driving provided. I have so much to be thankful for, my life is truly blessed and I am amazed at where God has brought me. The hours crept by as I refilled the tank at $3.11 per gallon, then again at $3.19. Then I began to become distracted.
The boredom set in.
I took up the absent-minded pastime of reading billboards as they passed. I stopped seeing the scenery, stopped thinking about my life and began listening to the radio. The stations began to change every hour or two as I drove out of their range and had to find another one that fit my taste at the moment. NPR talk radio, modern rock and Christian worship music all found their way into my little enclosed space of warm 72 degree temperature that was carrying me across the country. I noticed that I paid attention to what was outside less and more what was being said or sung.
Then when I drove into Wyoming I began to notice that I had no idea what was around me. I was paying attention only to the snow blowing across the road, my GPS and the billboards as they passed.
Granted, it was important that I focus on driving, but I can drive and still think. I had over the past few days slowly pushed things aside, pushed my heart aside, and was no longer thinking deeply. No longer talking with God. No longer listening. I was only driving.
Joel Belz, Editor in Chief of World magazine said in one of his articles (and I quote him loosely as I can no longer find what he wrote) "the tragedy of Darwinism is not what it has meant to the science of Creationism, that is only a distraction, a miniscule part of what has occurred. What is truly tragic is the naturalism that our culture has adopted. We no longer allow for the supernatural and have decided that only the natural can explain life, only the natural can take place. God is not challenged; instead, and I would argue worse, he is pushed aside and forgotten."
With each passing sign I read I thought "what a lame idea for a casino" or "that makes me hungry" or "a waterslide? I remember the waterpark growing up!" and while none of it at any point was offensive or a challenge to God, slowly I stopped paying attention to the beauty that surrounded me. Slowly I stopped conversing with him when I had thought previously "this is going to be an incredible few days to set aside to spend with him" and allowed myself to drift away quietly. The Coca-Cola signs made me thirsty instead of me looking right past them at the beautiful frozen lakes shining in the white snowy light. The hotels offering warm beds and sweet meal deals made me hungry instead of me seeing the jagged cliffs of incredible danger and awe behind the advertisements.
Proverbs 3:19 attests to what he has done: "The Lord by wisdom founded the earth; by understanding he established the heavens; by his knowledge the deeps broke open, and the clouds drop down the dew."
That is what slowly slipped by my window as I drove.
Isaiah 33:5 "The Lord is exalted, for he dwells on high; he will fill Zion with justice and righteousness, and he will be the stability of your times, abundance of salvation, wisdom, and knowledge; the fear of the Lord is Zion's treasure."
Psalms 29:2 "Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness"