I will say it again on this post, if anyone catches the classic animated film reference in the title, mad props. It was time again this week to learn a lesson in trust. I ride motorcycles with my dad a lot, and as cliche as it may sound, there are a lot of lessons to be learned on the road.
Over the Memorial Day weekend, my dad and I got the chance to go for a ride one evening. As we rode out of Benton, a string of thoughts started forming in my head. I immediately knew it was forming into a post, so I payed careful attention to what was happening (and the road of course.) We were riding on a road that had a speed limit of 40 miles per hour, and I really wasn't paying attention to my own speed as I was following my dad. I did happen to glance down at one point though, and I noticed that we were going 10 over the speed limit. It is uncharacteristic of my dad to speed, and shortly thereafter we did return to the speed limit. In that moment when I realized we were speeding, an interesting thought came into my head. I wasn't in the least bit worried that we were going to fast. I trust my dad more than anyone in the entire world, and I knew that he was being careful and "monitoring the situation" as he puts it. I knew that we wouldn't get pulled over, and if we did he would take responsibility. I was completely comfortable riding within the safety net of my father.
As we continued to ride, I noticed other nuances about our riding that I never took the time to think about previously. We always ride in staggered formation. He is always on the right and I always take the left; every time. I find myself following his path around bits of sticks or gravel in the road without even having to notice them myself. I mirror his movements, and thereby avoid danger. I don't always have to pay as meticulous attention to where I'm going as I would if I were alone because I don't have any fear of getting lost with my dad. Every other time that I've ridden bikes with someone, I've been in the lead. I don't trust anyone but my father to lead me. I don't feel comfortable following anyone else.
Towards the end of the ride, something landmark happened. We were a few miles from home when my dad made an unexpected stop. He pulled into a parking lot, and I was 75 percent sure that I knew what was happening. Let me frame the story a bit. My dad has an incredibly cool Harley Davidson, and I ride a slightly less cool Kawasaki (Okay, it's significantly less cool.) It's always been that way, and there are no hard feelings; he just looks way cooler everywhere we go. I had never riden any of his Harleys before then. Not because he doesn't trust me, it's just a whole different kind of riding when the bike weighs over 700 pounds as compared to the 400 pounds mine weighed. Bearing that in mind, we pulled into a parking lot, and in the way only my dad can, he simply said, "wanna switch?" I was floored. On the inside, I was so nervous about the potential to wreck his prize bike that I nearly lost control of my bowels, but I pseudo-suavely got on and pretended to be nothing short of confident. The next ten minutes of my life were some of the greatest I can remember (okay that might be a bit severe) but in all honestly, it was incredible to finally ride a real man's bike. As I stepped off the bike in our garage, I couldn't stop thinking about losing my Harley virginity (okay I'm sorry that was raucous...) But I couldn't stop smiling. Most importantly, I was completely in awe that my dad entrusted me with his motorcycle.
Though the experience alone was superb, I couldn't overlook the deeper implications that had been bouncing around my head as we rode. I wonder how my faith journey would be different if I looked at God like I like at my dad when we ride? How badly does God want me to accept his safety net just as fully as I accept my earthly father's? I put up no walls when I'm around my dad, and I know that I can be the same with a God who has no sense of condemnation; only a love that knows absolutely no boundaries. He is ready to trust me with his plans, and his gifts; his spiritual Harley Davidson if you will. My dad knows that I've made a lot of mistakes in my life, and I haven't always respected him like I should, and yet he overlooks those things and chooses to be my mentor and my friend. Our Heavenly father is no different. He is begging us to trust him and follow in his footsteps; his tire treads. He wants to be the only one that we trust enough to follow.
God loves us more than we can understand; more than we can accept at times. I've run from it; we've all run from it. That doesn't change the fact that it steadily follows us into the darkest places we can find, all the while retaining as much candor and intensity as it ever has or will. While we choose to follow people and things that have underlying agendas and will take abrupt turns without warning, God shows us his path from the beginning. It is straight and flawless. We can follow him around the obstacles that the world throws in our path. Often he doesn't reveal the intricacies of his entire plan at once, but it doesn't change the fact that his path is set in stone. Just like my dad may not tell me from the beginning where exactly we're going to ride, I never have to worry that it will be on unsafe roads or in places that we should not be. How he leads does not change, and God is the same way. We can cease our worries about getting lost. And most importantly, we can appreciate the fact that, just like our motorcycle trips, every step and every mile takes us closer to home.
"Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." (John 15:13)
I really appreciate you all taking the time out of your day to read. God bless each of you. You can follow me on Twitter at @matthewhillec