“REED” This




I recently had the opportunity to travel back to my hometown in Arkansas. The purpose was to bury the cremains of my mother next to my father, who had passed thirty-five years ago. The route I chose was straight across the entire breadth of southern Georgia, then across Alabama and Mississippi, almost entirely across the northern part of Louisiana before turning north to skirt just inside of northeast Texas for only a few miles until coming into southwest Arkansas. After a little over an hour inside Arkansas, I came to a stop in the town where I was born and raised, about six miles from the Oklahoma line, and almost a thousand miles from where I had started the day before. That’s a lot of miles and a good bit of time to be behind the wheel of a vehicle. As I looked out through the windshield along the way, I saw familiar places as they passed and was reminded of some things I had forgotten. A few new turns allowed me to see new things and they were added to my many experiences I have had from making this drive multiple times before. Several stops were necessary for food, fuel, rest, and use of the facilities. But the most of two days was consumed with driving – sitting in the driver’s seat, maintaining proper speed, keeping the vehicle between the lines, and watching the miles of scenery go by.


I enjoy driving. Even a long trip like this one is very enjoyable to me. I enjoy seeing and admiring God’s creation: the animals, the sky, the trees, the fields, the rolling hills, the rivers and lakes, and even trying to figure out what those farmers are growing. I recognize the corn stalks, but the smaller plants … are those soybeans or cotton? And then seeing the little towns. As I go through them, I wonder about the history, the people, and sometimes ask, “Why would anyone ever want to live here?” Even when I’m not on a long trip, but just driving to the church or the grocery store, I enjoy driving. It can give you a sense of accomplishment that is more than just getting from point A to point B. You’re always moving forward, going somewhere, and getting things that are needed.


Driving also gives you a sense of control. As long as you have fuel and the vehicle will run, you can basically go anywhere you want to go and drive and drive to your heart’s content. The only thing that can get in your way are the restrictions of the lines and roads. It’s possible to not let that stop you, but it’s difficult to drive on ground that hasn’t been built up for vehicles. Some of the soil is too soft and cannot support the weight, thus a vehicle simply sinks into the ground and is stuck. Other soil is so hard and uneven that higher speeds are impossible without losing control as the vehicle is bounced all over the place. Other places cannot be driven through because the brush is too thick, the water is too deep, or there simply is a big tree in your way. That’s why it is best to stay on a roadway that has been properly built and maintained for vehicular traffic. The old saying, “Stay between the lines. The lines are your friends.” is definitely good advice.


God has placed each of us on our own road. He has laid out a plan for our lives (Eph. 2:10), and it is a good plan. If we stay on the road He has planned for us, we will be able to accomplish great things for Him. We will experience good things in our lives and be blessed. But if we stray outside the lines, disobey the Lord, and decide to go our own way instead, we will struggle, have trouble, and get stuck in great difficulties. “But for those who are righteous, the way is not steep and rough. You are a God who does what is right, and You smooth out the path ahead of them. Lord, we show our trust in You by obeying Your laws; our heart’s desire is to glorify Your name.” (Isaiah 26:7-8) God makes the road and paints the lines. He sets the boundaries for our lives to help us and enable us to experience the best life and to live our lives to the fullest. When we obey His commands and follow His ways, the road we travel will bring us joy knowing we are living with the Savior and pleasing Him.


The next time you get behind the wheel to drive, think about your spiritual life. Are you driving on the road God has laid out for you? Are you staying between the lines? We all need to be sure to let the Spirit help us as we drive.


Bro. Paul Reed


Tuesday, August 2, 2022