By Wendell Elms
Some of you around my age may remember the high-pitched, twangy voice of John Denver singing, “Country road, take me home….” Speaking of country roads, I love puttering around on back roads. Country roads can be a lot of fun. Many beautiful places are reserved for those willing to risk the backcountry. I once told my wife, Linda, that a great vacation would be to take a 4WD vehicle and travel all the back roads in Colorado. The truth is you can find the most breathtaking places on those “four-wheel-drive roads:’
Sometimes those back roads are really tough to travel on. They are slow going, rough, rutted, dusty, rocky, muddy, snowy, or icy. Maybe they go along rivers or across streams, on sides of steep mountains, or in deep sand. It would be senseless to head off down this kind of road in a regular car. Not being prepared for what’s ahead of you can quickly get you into a bad fix.
Have you ever noticed how many four-wheel-drive vehicles you see around mountain towns? Hundreds! You simply need this kind of vehicle because when things get bad outside, those four wheels will get you through. They can get you over something, through something, or around something that you could never get around otherwise. If you have a powerful winch, you can even help others out of trouble.
Paul, in his writings, listed some really rough terrain he had gone through: tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, stripes above measure, prisons, close to death often, of the Jews five times he received forty stripes save one, three times he was beaten with rods, once stoned, three times suffered shipwreck, spent a night and a day in an ocean, in many perils of waters, perils of robbers, perils by his own countrymen, perils by the heathen, perils in the wilderness, perils in the city, perils among false brethren, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, and in cold and nakedness. That is about the worst terrain life has to offer!
You may, in fact, be on terrible roads today. It may be a slippery, rocky, or scary road, but it is probably covered in Paul’s list. Here is the response of someone who is living in 4-wheel drive: “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us:’
Anyone who had come through what Paul did deserves the right to be “more than a conqueror:’ The things we go through as Christians would sink most people. Thank God for His power that keeps us day by day.
How can we be four-wheel-drive Christians when we are facing such difficulties? Here are four keys:
- Believe that God has a plan—a perfect plan. “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
No matter how the weather or the road looks, trust in God, knowing that bumpy roads often lead to beautiful places not otherwise arrived at.
- Count on inexhaustible resources. He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32). He who loved us enough to die for us certainly will never abandon us, no matter how bad we feel right now Our fuel tank may run empty, but His never will be. When we can’t go on, His supply of power will keep coming to us!
- Hang on to His love. “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” (Romans 8:35). That is not a question but a statement meaning, “I will let nothing separate me from Him.” Others may not be willing to take the rough road, and some will not pay the price, but remember that we will never travel the rough roads alone.
- We belong to an invincible Savior. “What shall we then say to these (terrible) things (we go through)? If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31). This is what makes us “more than conquerors:’ We have Jesus with us, and no matter how steep the road or how rough the way, we will get through this victoriously. If you have not shifted into four-wheel drive, it is time to. God bless you today as you move forward with Him.