Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Turn-around

About seven years ago my family and I moved into a house in the country at the end of a road. I thought how wonderful it would be to not have cars constantly driving past our house like they did in the middle of town. Well, what I didn’t realize was that the end of the road is the place all the lost cars end up to turn around! Since our driveway picked up where the road left off, it became the natural “turn-around.”

Most lost travelers would realize their error and quickly make a U-turn, others however, decided to follow the driveway all the way around the house and not waste their opportunity to answer this question, “Does it really go all the way around? Why, yes it does! Just like the GPS system said.” What GPS neglected to tell them was that I like to park my car around back and bring my groceries in through the back door. Neither did it happen to mention that I often sit on the back deck in my pajamas and have my coffee while I write (today about them). Imagine both our surprise! Usually, in embarrassment, they throw it into reverse and as quickly as possible, try to back out the way they came in; avoiding the dog and the Rainbird sprinklers on the edge of the driveway as they weave up the hill. Others have actually rolled down their windows to ask me for directions! In my head I asked this question, “You do see I am in my pajamas don’t you?” But I try to be polite and tell them nicely how to get to their destination.

The worst times were those in the middle of the night. One time we had two cars pull in and all the way around to the back of the house, just to discover my car in their way. Apparently the party they had been attending was over and they were confused about where to go next – so here they were. With their stereos blasting, they stepped out of their cars to discuss the dilemma with each other; right next to our bedroom window. After a bit of loud talking and a bit of cursing, they got back in the cars and attempted to back out in complete darkness. I laid in bed debating whether to get my flashlights and runway flags out and taxi them out of the yard, or to let out our German Shepherd. Before I could choose either, they had successfully turned themselves around and drove away.

We posted signs on the fence letting people know this was private property and not a turn-around; some cared, some didn’t. These kinds of adventures went on for seven years, until we decided to put in a gate. Now the lost people turn around in the dirt and gravel on our neighbor's property (sorry neighbor). All has been quiet and uneventful on this side of the gate ever since. No one can get through without a code or remote control; I am feeling safe in my pajamas!

Today as I walked around my driveway, spending time with the Lord in prayer, the gate caught my attention (Unfortunately I have an attention deficit disorder when walking in the yard and praying at the same time – easily distracted!). I started thinking about this question, “What if I am the one at the end of the road in some lost person’s life?” Not someone just lost in their car, but someone spiritually lost. In a way, I hold within my possession the code to enter through the gate. I have a relationship with the One who is the only true Gate to life, the only way through to heaven, and to God. What if I am the one or you are the one whom God has placed at the turn-around? The one He has given the directions to point them the right way on the road of life; to point them in His direction. Would we be annoyed or pestered by their untimely arrivals, or their requests for directions? What if we were in our pajamas?

I hope I would look beyond all the inconvenience to what is more important – that they are lost. I hope I would patiently show them the love of Jesus by my actions, and share with them the code that will lead them through the gate that will really turn their lives around. It is nice not being bothered anymore by unexpected cars coming down the drive, but I’m going to try my hardest to live my life in expectation of God bringing the lost people my way, so I can have the privilege of helping them turn-around. To have a small part in them making it safely to the destination God has waiting for them; to make it through the Gate to Him.

As I continue my walk with Him today, my prayer will now include this: “Lord, help me to be aware of those people you bring into my life who are lost and needing help, give me the desire and courage to point them to you. I pray that you will always find me with a willing heart and happily waiting right here where you have placed me on the end of the road - at the turn-around." Amen

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