Saturday, August 10, 2013

Freeway Frenzy

        Driving somewhere on vacation?  Watch out for freeway frenzy — theirs and yours!  Take a few minutes to read about a vacation several years ago . . . 
We might have prayed for you this summer.
If you were the red-headed lady in the gray mini-van with three kids in the back, driving the long stretch of highway heading north out of Salt Lake City, we prayed for you.
If you were the truck driver in a shiny blue Peterbilt with an Iowa license pulling a big black tarp-covered load up the mountains of Montana, we prayed for you.
In fact, we prayed for hundreds of drivers.  Young, elderly, in-between. People in cars, pickups, motorcycles, tractor-trailer rigs, even one long white limo.  Maybe you were one of them. 
All along the interstate people seemed to be in a hurry and in a bad mood, too.  When we left enough room between our vehicle and the one ahead some joker was quick to pull in the space.  Everyone was following too closely.  The whole scene was freeway frenzy.  
Ordinarily I would have been a basket case.  But this trip was different.

Praying for you saved my sanity!  And, I trust that my prayers blessed you.
 My husband, Don, and I had set out in June to drive to Spokane.  This time the traffic was getting on my nerves.  I’ve never seen such rude people and such risky driving.  
For hundreds of miles Don sat solidly behind the wheel and got us through, while this great woman of faith (me) sat beside him and gritted my teeth.  At first I suffered in silence, then I began to complain. 
Oh, we started out each day with a prayer that God would keep us safe and get us to our destination without accident or incident.  But as we negotiated the congestion of Salt Lake City all of a sudden the Lord brought a verse to mind, “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind.”  I’d read it earlier that week in II Timothy 1:7.  
Like a drowning man I clamped onto that verse and prayed, “Yes, Lord.  Do it!  Let me live today in Your power, in Your mighty love, and experience the soundness that comes from trusting You.”
Reaching for the yellow tablet I keep in the side pocket of the truck door I began to hum the tune, “Morning Has Broken.”  I jotted down some words of blessing for the people who were passing us on the freeway.  Other words came to mind as we drove on and I added them to the sheet.
Glancing up just then I saw that gray mini-van.  The words flew out of my mouth, “I bless you in the Name of Jesus.  Lord, help that mom.  Have the kids settle down and be agreeable for the rest of her trip.”
Instantly I felt wonderful.  A great load of fear had lifted off of my mind.  The wonderful revelation of God’s grace flooded my heart.  I would pronounce the Lord’s blessing on every driver on the freeway!  Like a generous millionaire I lavished God’s love on innumerable people.
The frown lines were replaced by a smile.  Right away I told Don what I was doing.  He agreed,  “Keep it up.  We need the Lord’s help and protection, and so do they.”  
Sometimes it seemed like the Lord wanted me to pray in more detail for the person whose vehicle caught my eye.  For some, I prayed for strength and healing.  For others I prayed for a spirit of repentance to come upon them so they would receive Jesus as Savior before it was too late.  
When we passed the semi straining up the mountain the Lord impressed me with the idea of praying for his loneliness, along with safety for his family at home.  Instead of cringing to think how huge his vehicle was and how terrible it would be if he misjudged the distance and plowed into us the Lord gave me confidence and a sound mind.  
By the time we overtook that white Cadillac limousine out of Idaho Falls the Lord had even cured me of jealousy.  Instead of musing on the beautiful home and carefree life I imagined them to have, I blessed them with an awareness of the riches that comes from knowing Christ and a freedom from the entrapment of the world’s allurement.
Reaching for my tablet I wrote a note for myself, “Am I seeking God’s presents or His presence?”  That would give me something for meditation later.
From time to time I glanced at the words of my emerging poem-song.  It was exciting to see how clearly and simply the ideas came to mind.  All the way to Spokane and then homeward-bound two weeks later I blessed everyone who came along the highways and roads.
Did God bless each of the people we’d prayed for?  I’m positive He did.   We read in John 14:12 these words of Jesus, “And I will do whatever you ask in my name so that the Son may bring glory to the Father.  You may ask me for anything in my name and I will do it.”  
Finally pulling into our own little driveway in Phoenix that hot afternoon three weeks later we thanked God for a safe trip, all 3,528 miles.  The next morning sitting at my computer the final stanza of the poem came.  It seemed to flow from that fountain of inspiration that had blessed me time and again. Now, what to call it?  “Song of Blessing” seemed a natural title.
 Here is the finished piece.

                                  Song of Blessing

Bless these around me;
Touch with Your presence.
Send Your protection 
to guide us today.
You are our Father,
We, your possession;
Bring down Your glory,
Show us the way.

I praise You, my Father,
I bless what You’re doing;
Far greater, Your power 
than any can see.
Yours is the Kingdom, 
Yours is the glory,
Reign in Your beauty,
Living in me. 

(To the tune of “Morning Has Broken”)
                      -- Elaine Hardt ©1994

These words have blessed Don and me; now our prayer is that the reality of God’s presence will make a real difference in your life.  When you extend the Lord’s blessing to those you see on the streets and highways it may well be “good-bye, freeway frenzy” for you, too.
by Elaine Hardt ©1994