Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Harley Junior and I Find a Way of Escape

I have lived in Indonesia for over nineteen years now.  Nearly two decades have provided me with many experiences that have shaped my thinking.  Nearly fifteen years ago, Harley Junior entered my life. 
No, Harley Junior is not my husband. 
Harley Junior is not my boyfriend. 
Harley Junior is not even a person. 
And believe me...Harley Junior is very, very junior. 
Harley Junior is my motor scooter, an 85cc Honda that has faithfully transported me around this island for nearly 70,000 miles.  I’ve learned much about trusting God while riding on “Harley”.  I’ve discovered a lot about God’s provision and protection as Harley and I have ventured out of our home.
One time in particular, Harley and I were returning to the city after a weekend of ministry in the mountains.  The road snaked its way down the mountain making for quite a challenging drive. This time the drive was more challenging than most.
The shoulders of the road were under repair.  Ditches about a foot deep and equally as wide had been dug on both sides.  The construction work went on for miles.  There was no place to pull over.  No place to safely stop.
That didn’t worry me very much, because Harley didn’t take up much space.  If something approached from the other direction, hogging more than its fair share of the road, there was still enough space to move to the side and get past....usually.
But not this time.  As I drove down the mountain, I heard the sound of screeching brakes approaching from the road below me.  A speeding silver car rounded the curve I was about to approach, zig-zagging back and forth across both lanes.  Where should I go?  To which side of the road should I steer in order to avoid being hit by the speeding, out-of-control car.  There were ditches on both sides, and a steep drop-off on the left.  I didn’t have long to make a decision.
Needless to say, I lifted up a quick prayer for help...and then I saw it.  The one place for miles where the road had not been dug up.  It was on the left side with the drop-off just beyond it.  Even so, it was the one place where I could safely pull over.  I saw the way out and took it.  Steering Harley off the road to the left, I stopped.  The speeding car also pulled over...into the same place...and stopped so close that I could reach out from where I sat and touch it. 
The driver of the car, his passenger, and I just sat there for a moment looking at each other in stunned silence as we contemplated what could have happened.  After our heartbeats had slowed down a bit, they drove on, and so did I. 
I don’t know about them, but I journeyed down the rest of the mountain, thanking God for His protection.  I also thanked Him for the provision of that one safe place to pull over right where and when I needed it.
This reminds me of 1 Corinthians 10:13c. 
“...But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”  (NIV)
We can be going along through life feeling pretty good.  Circumstances may not be ideal, but generally, we feel like we are in control of our lives.  Then along comes temptation, like that speeding car.  Suddenly, we are no longer in control.  There is something dangerous headed our way.  Where can we go?  How can we keep from being hit head-on?  There does not appear to be any way out.  Any alternatives that we can come up with would be no safer than driving into one of the ditches on either side of the road.
When we call out to God for help, though, we will see it.  The way out that He promised to provide.  There is no time to debate.  No time to hesitate.  We must take that way out if we are to escape temptation. 
If we do not take the way out that God provides, we can expect to be hit head-on.  At the very least, we will end up crashing into the ditch.  
As for me, I learned a valuable lesson while riding Harley Junior. that day.  Whenever I fall to temptation, it is not because there is no way to escape it.  God promised that He would provide the way out, so I can be assured that the way of escape is there. 
Perhaps I don’t see it because I am not looking. 
Perhaps I don’t see it because I am so focused on the temptation itself that I don’t see anything else.
Perhaps...and let’s be honest here...I don’t WANT to see the way out because the “speeding car” heading my way is tempting me to do something that is really kind of fun.
Whatever the reason, if I don’t take that way of escape, the fault is mine.  God provides the way out.  It is my responsibility to take it.

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