Yesterday was our first road trip since moving to the Lone Star state three weeks ago. And what a trip is was!
We left our home in Corinth, north of Dallas, about 9:15 on what should have been about a 5 hour drive with time to stop for lunch. We arrived 8 hours later.
The 30 mile obstacle course through Dallas, called I-35, is proving to be a daily adventure. Constant construction. Narrow lanes. Closed exits. Sudden stops. Rough pavement. Difficult to read signs. And, of course, always a crazy driver weaving in and out of traffic. These are to be expected as par for the course.
However, after navigating our way south down I-45 and enjoying the open road and peaceful countryside, we suddenly came to an abrupt stop. Signs said there was an “incident” ahead. Then another read the road was closed. My iPhone GPS had let me down. The girl on the Apple ad was right. Siri doesn’t know everything.
After inching along for what seemed like forever, we finally began our long exit to an adventurous detour. I was in Ennis, Texas. After getting some gas, I asked a Trucker what happened. He said, “flooding on I-45.” And advised me not to try to get back on it. So, how do I get to Houston? He told me to go to Italy. Really? There’s an Italy, Texas.
After a brief drive down I-35, for the second time, we exited on 6 at Waco and began our trek through previously unknown territory. To us. Marlin. Hammond. Calvert. Benchley. Hearne. Bryan. College Station. Hmm, I’ve heard of that. There’s a college there with the logo of an ATM machine. I think.
Then on to other old, obscure Texas towns with historical markers along the way. Pasture land. Prairie. Longhorns. And, of course, the lone star logo on everything imaginable from rocking chairs to ranches. Finally, we arrived in Houston just in time for their rush hour. I will spare our readers the adventure through various toll roads and traffic backups.
But we did reach our destination. The Southside Lectures in Pasadena.
The journey, even with its obstacles, was worth it. Beautiful, awe-inspiring singing led by Tim Stevens. Two powerful presentations from God’s Word by Phil Robertson who passionately spoke on “Love for Lost Souls. And Ralph Walker who challenged us with “A New Devotion to Prayer.”
You would be blessed by going to the Southside web page and listening to these lessons. They will inspire you. Encourage you. Edify you. And challenge you to be a more devoted disciple of Christ. That’s why we made the trip. Preachers, more than anyone, need to be fed by good preaching.
The added blessing to any gathering like that is the fellowship following. Hugs. Hand shakes. Smiles. Warm greetings. Seeing old friends. Making new ones. Sharing stories. And enjoying the congenial feeling of being with the Family of God.
Today promises more of the same. With lessons from both Ralph and Phil. As well as John Kilgore and Russ Bowman, who’s been dubbed by Ralph as “the Rocky Marciano” of preaching. I can’t wait to find out why.
These experiences reminded me and served in a feeble sort of way as a metaphor for our life’s journey on the way to heaven.
Life is filled with obstacles. Troubles. Trials. Unexpected detours. Hardships. Loss. Death. And Separation. The journey at times seems arduous. Toilsome. And difficult. Yet, the destination is worth it.
The angelic singing around the majestic throne of God will pale in comparison to any earthly gathering. The eternal fellowship. The joy. The bliss. The reunion with departed family members, friends and brethren. And the blessedness of our eternal home with the Divine Family will make every obstacle along the way seem insignificant.
As my friend, and the Southside preacher, Dee Bowman is famous for saying, “If you miss heaven, you’ve missed all there is.”
And, so, we journey on.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman