Thursday night, after a most moving Maundy Thursday service, I found myself driving home very late at night on some treacherous roads. It was the last (Lord Willing!) snow of the year and I was caught in the midst of it. What ought to have been a 54 minute drive (but who's counting) ended up being 1 hour and 45 minutes.
As I drove, white-knuckled and shoulders to my ears, I prayed (through my clenched teeth and sore jaw). I prayed for the storm to stop. I prayed for the roads to clear. I prayed to GET HOME. I prayed for the road home to miraculously shorten. I prayed for skilled driving on my behalf. I prayed there would be no other cars on the road (you know, less obstacles to hit should I spin out of control). I just wanted it to stop.
I even considered on more than one occassion how I could get myself out of this jam. If I turn here, I could spend the night at my in-laws. But no. What about my still-nursing baby waiting for me at home? Who would feed her in the morning? If I turn here, I could spend the night at my parents' house. But no. It really isn't that much closer and the roads are more curvy and hilly.
And then the thought came. What if I just pull into some farmer's driveway and wait it out until daylight? Maybe just sitting here in a cold car with no food, blanket, or even weather appropriate clothes wouldn't be so bad. It might just be better than continuing home. Certainly easier. Certainly requires less faith. Sadly along with that thought came a split second consideration that was a little frightening. I could just drive as fast as normal, spin out of control, sail over the guard rail and wake up in heaven. That might be the easiest yet. Yet also, it would have been the coward's errand.
And so I thought again about my children tucked tightly in their beds and how I wanted to see their chubby faces in the morning. I thought about my husband waiting in our bed, keeping it warm for me, probably snoring, completely unaware of my current stress, and getting ready to steal the sheets when I crawl in beside him. Then I realized: I had to push through this storm to get to the better part. I thought about the service I had just attended and the call to live our lives through the resurrection power of Jesus.
The Word says in Hebrews 12: 2 that Christ endured the cross by focusing on the Joy set before Him. He knew that the End was worth the Means. That is the resurrection power that lives in us now so that we can say with Paul:
"I press on in order that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus...forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward to goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." (Phil. 3:12-14)
As I crawled in to bed that night beside my husband, safe and sound once again, I realized it was worth driving through that storm to get here. Lord, grant me that vision as I travel through the storms of life that I would persevere knowing that the prize of Christ-likeness at the end is well worth the pain and fear I endure along the way. Thank You for loving me enough to let trials like these come to get my attention and draw me back to You. (Heb. 12:4-11)