October 11, 2021 | Stories by Linda Opp
I was an off-roader before it was cool because I'm the daughter of a farmer who missed his calling as a Hollywood stunt driver. We had some pretty wild rides.
I have summertime memories of tearing through the pasture with Dad as we checked on the cattle, riding in the old car he fondly referred to as “The Blitz”, a flamingo pink 1953 Ford Crestline Victoria. The roof had been removed with a welding torch, leaving only the front windshield.
The pasture was virgin sod, pockmarked with landmines of hidden rocks and gopher holes, and you never knew what you were going to hit. It made for breathless excitement as we blitzed our way to all four corners of the pasture, counting the new calves, examining salt licks and fences, and generally making sure everything was all right with the bovine branch of the farming operation.
Then there was Dad's snowbank technique. Sometimes it took a couple days after a snowfall for the roads to get plowed, but we still had places to go. With a station wagon full of kids, Dad bounced his way over the smaller drifts, approaching a snowbank two or more feet high. He'd then do a maneuver that should not be attempted with a station wagon, but that was no deterrent. He’d stop, size up the snowbank, and back up a few yards. Then he'd yell “Hang on!”, stomp on the gas, and shoot forward. We’d hit the bank with a thump and ram our way through, slightly airborne, emerging on the other side in a shower of snow.
It sounds crazy, but it's all true. I had no doubt that I was safe with Dad, and he always got us where we were going in one piece.
The entire planet has been off-roading for almost two years. We're longing for the destination where we can see everyone's faces and attend events large and small, with no fear or restrictions. A destination where families and friends aren't divided over conflicting medical advice.
Peter and James, while they knew nothing of Covid, lived in unsettled times, especially for Christians. This is what they said:
“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed” (I Peter 4:12).
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2-4).
It's sometimes hard to remember, but God is the driver here, whether on or off the road. His ultimate destination for us is the eternal joy of his kingdom. The current wild ride we're experiencing is an opportunity to be led to maturity and trust in the driver, no matter how much off-roading is happening. On or off the road, we must still love God and serve others. We must still be making God's kingdom real to those who have yet to experience it.
God made the road, he knows where the rocks and potholes are, and he'll get us home. We're absolutely safe with him. We just have to hang on.