Finding God on the open road

By Contributor Daryl Geffken

Daryl Geffken

When I need God I take a drive. Well, let me back up. I need God all the time. When I am feeling very lost and in need of God to show himself in my life, when I seek truth, I head south. Not figuratively, literally. I go to the Palouse. Up High Drive, down Hatch Hill, all the way across Hangman Valley, and I end up on Valley Chapel Road. It’s beautiful at any time of day or year. It winds around through different little hills and dales and it leads me to a cemetery. Where, I slow down, I drive in, I park my Rodeo. Weird? Freaky? I could see where you might think so, but it gives me perspective multiple times in multiple ways. Today was no different, and very different.

Photo of the Palouse by Marj Johnston

I’ve discovered that I’ve become a bit more emotional. How so, you might ask? Easily explained. I’ve never understood the far-reaching affect of becoming a father. Having a child makes the death of a child far worse. I go to the Mt. Hope Cemetery from time to time. I go looking for God to meet me and teach me and refresh me. Today there is a new memorial site. It is adorned with fresh cut lilies and a little metal butterfly. It also has a small plaque with 1 Corinthians 13 engraved. What is really impactful to me is the big remote control monster truck and the two matchbox cars placed in its pickup bed. This was a kid — probably not much older than Tyler or Justin — the two boys that have totally won over my heart, and who were so hard to leave this morning — whose almost 5-year- or 2-year-old smiles make me want to stop the world just so I can spend more time with them. I can’t tell you exactly how messed up I would be if something were to happen to either of them. I can’t explain the horror of a memorial site with a beloved tiger or Captain Rex standing vigilant watch. I’d be a wreck and empty. A hollow shell. Part of me, the father part, would be dead.

This brings to light a story of a man who desperately needed Jesus. In Luke 8:4 a ruler of the local synagogue pleads with Jesus to come and heal his only daughter who was dying. He fell at Jesus’ feet. He was experiencing a helpless pain and must have thought he’d try anything. Jesus, who usually is fairly harsh with the religious elite, goes with the man and raises his daughter from death. Jesus seems to help this man because he is aware of his own need, his own inability and also recognized the ability of a God-man. This must mean there’s hope for me; a religious leader that is fairly prideful and not often convinced that he needs a savior. I can become appreciative of my own need and Jesus may not turn me away. Hope is found. Jesus can meet my need.

That’s my story for the day. I’m working my way through the gospels and through my life and you (like it or not) are the recipient of some of my thoughts. I hope and pray you find hope in the need of your life.

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3 responses to “Finding God on the open road

  1. Thanks, Daryl, for your words. I too use “road trips” as a means of being in the world, processing life and faith, exploring more, connecting words with images and places and people both present and in the past. In fact, the photo of the Palouse that accompanies your words was taken this past Sunday as I explored new roads (to me) that criss-cross the Palouse’s vastness. I actually sat in someone’s driving for about 45 minutes, hoping the homeowner/tenant would return to so I could ask permission to walk across their field to a visible old cemetery or family plot. The headstones were the sort that I know hold stories, offering something from the lives of those who had a glimpse of the potential where truly the grain and the grape meet on some of the world’s richest soils for wheat and wines.

  2. *driving = driveway … sheesh.

  3. Marj, I love that you had such a desire to know those stories that you sat there for so long… it is amazing to me how a static symbol can have such a strong tie-in to life. Great comment.
    Love God, love others, dt

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