Cabin 04: Riding Shotgun

After a short snooze, I awoke. Restless. Nervous. No sign of my family anywhere. I still had no sense of time, and my surroundings still looked altered in some inexplicable way. Familiar and yet strange. Hazy yet somehow clearer than ever before.

I tossed and turned, trying to sleep. How could anyone sleep with the Son of God picking them up in the morning? Then I panicked a bit. Maybe I could just meet Jesus at the cabin instead. I could use the drive to collect myself, get my head around this situation. I will use the car ride to pray! Yes, that’s a reasonable request. Jesus will understand.

These were my thoughts. I was probably just too afraid to meet Jesus face to face, and wanted to delay the encounter a bit. Hmmm…I wonder how long of a drive it is to the Father’s cabin anyway? 

I grabbed my phone before I could second guess my plan, and hit redial on the unlisted number. This will never work. But to my surprise, it did. He answered!

“Hello?”

“Jesus? It’s me…Jeremy.”

“Shouldn’t you be sleeping? We have a big weekend ahead of us.”

“Yeah, I know. But I was just thinking. I would really prefer to just drive myself and meet you up at the cabin. Would that okay?” I said hesitantly.

“I’m sorry, Jeremy, but it doesn’t work that way.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, its quite simple,” Jesus said. “You’d get lost if you tried finding your way to the Father’s Cabin on your own. Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat – I am.”

“Well, I’m pretty good with directions,” I retorted. “I think I can get there if you just gave me the addess.

He was sympathetic yet resolute. “There’s only one way to get where we’re going. Many people have tried to find other ways to my Father’s cabin, but they’ve all ended up hopelessly lost.”

He wasn’t finished.

“Some tried to find shortcuts to get there faster than others. Others tried to find easier, more comfortable routes to avoid the rough, windy uphill roads along the way. Some tried to hitchhike their way, bumming rides with others but they never made it. There are no shortcuts, and the way to my Father’s cabin is vigorous and requires total attention. And each person must come on their own; no hitchhiking allowed.”

“Wow, where is this place, anyway?” I finally asked. “Is it near the Interstate? I love long trips on the Interstate — just set the cruise control, crank up the music, and relax.”

“Yes, there is an Interstate nearby, “Jesus said. “But it won’t get you to the Father’s Cabin.”

“Why is that?”

“Well, its hard to explain and ultimately you’re going to have to just trust me on this.”

“Okay…?”

Jesus’ tone again grew very serious. “Jeremy, there is a wide, easy interstate freeway up that way, and there are many who drive it. Its got wide shoulders, magnificent rest stops and some breathtaking scenic overlooks. Most of the people on it appear to be having a pleasant time.” He paused. “But…”

“But what?” I asked, now growing very curious.

“But its a death trap. The road is unfinished. It will bring you only so far and then…”

“And then what?” I could sense Jesus’ hesitation to talk about it. He seemed very upset by the entire topic.

“The wide, easy road is a diabolical trap set by the Devil himself,” Jesus continued. “It promises everyone who will take it the most comfortable ride but in the end it leads straight off a giant cliff into the abyss. It gives people a smooth, enjoyable ride….but the ride always ends in a tragic meaningless death.”

Now a familiar Scripture popped into my head, and I mumbled it quietly under my breath, “There is a way that seems right to a person, but in the end it leads to death” (Proverbs 14:12).

An uneasy silence lingered across the phone line for an uncomfortably long time. I was slow to speak. What an awful thing to contemplate. I finally broke the silence. “Why doesn’t someone do something about the road? Put up barriers? Post warning signs? Send people in another direction?”

“That’s the hardest part,” Jesus lamented. “My Father himself has posted countless signs and warnings along the way. Barriers and billboards both abound, trying to turn people in a new direction, but people are too distracted to even see them until its too late.”

This was hard to believe. I was trying to imagine droves of cars full of reasonable, educated people all headed in the same direction and ultimately driving themselves to self-destruction.

“Jesus, certainly there must be some people smart enough to avoid this trap, right?” I asked.

Jesus’ tone shifted again, now with an air of hope, glad to hear me ask that question. “Yes, there is another way to my Father’s cabin. But it leads through a narrow gate and the road is often bumpy, and so there are sadly very few who find it.”

I was all ears now. My hands sweating as I gripped my phone tighter.

Growing excited now, Jesus continued. “No one rude or rebellious is permitted on this road. It’s for God’s people exclusively—impossible to get lost on this road. Not even fools can get lost on it” (Isa 35:8).  This road is like the sunrise, getting brighter and brighter until the daylight has fully come” (Prov 4:10). It leads right to the driveway of my Father’s cabin!”

“Well,” I couldn’t help interrupting. “Tell me how to get there! I want to know the way!”

“Jeremy, I think you already know the way.”

Again, Jesus was throwing me a curveball and keeping me perplexed. I interjected, “Lord, I have no idea where we are going.  How do you expect me to know the road?”

Sounding a bit disappointed, Jesus responded. “I am the way. No one comes to the Father’s cabin without following me. You see, you can’t drive yourself. You can’t just plug an address into your GPS. You need to let me drive — its the only way to get there.”

Again, I was realizing just how hard it is for me to just take Jesus at his word and trust him. So, I humbled myself and gave in. “Alight Jesus, I guess you’re driving.”

“I’ll pick you up at sunrise. Now get some sleep.”

SCRIPTURE MEDITATION: 

“Then Jesus went to work on his disciples. “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am” (Matt 16:24 MSG).

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.  But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it” (Matt 7:13-14).

 “Don’t look for shortcuts to God….Don’t fall for that stuff, even though crowds of people do. The way to life—to God!—is vigorous and requires total attention” (Matt 7:13-14 MSG).

“You already know the road I’m taking.” Thomas said, “Master, we have no idea where you’re going. How do you expect us to know the road?”Jesus said, “I am the Road, also the Truth, also the Life. No one gets to the Father apart from me” (John 14:4-6).

PERSONAL REFLECTION: How often or in what ways do you tend to say to Jesus, “I think I’d prefer to drive” rather than giving him control?  What area of your life do you need to let Jesus have the wheel and lead? Describe in your own words the crowded “wide road” that is leading people around you to destruction?  What bumps and curves have you needed to face in order to stay on the narrow road that leads to life?

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, I have a tendency to try to put you in the passenger seat and maintain control of the wheel of my life. Help me to pull over and to let you drive. Today I give you permission to drive me through this current situation in my life [insert critical event or circumstances] and to lead me into the bright morning of a new day. Amen.

 

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