Thursday, January 10, 2013

Responding to the Dark Shadows of Life

I got back to Bali late last night after a visit to my rheumatologist in Singapore. I had driven my motorbike to the airport, leaving home at 1:30am on Tuesday. There was light rain pretty much the whole way, so I wrapped my small suitcase in a rain poncho before strapping it onto the back of the bike.

The trip was uneventful - both the trip to the airport and the visit itself. The trip home, however, was a bit more stressful. My plane was scheduled to leave Singapore at 8:50 pm on Wednesday. We actually got underway about half an hour later than scheduled. The ride was rather bumpy as we ran into several patches of bad weather. I wasn't all that worried, though. I've been in worse.

When we landed in Bali, it was rainy...and wind. (I found out today that the high winds we had felt in the air and on the ground was actually part of a cyclone system. My plane must have caught the tail end of the storm.) I didn't get to see much between the plane and the bus that picked us up plane-side to take us to the terminal, but I was more than a bit concerned about driving home. The rain wasn't so much of a problem, but the wind was.

By the time I got through immigration, picked up my suitcase, and left the terminal, the rain had stopped. The wind, however, was still strong at times. The tops of palm trees bent their heads under the force of the wind. However, when I checked out the sky, I could see spaces with visible stars. That was hopeful. By the time I got the suitcase wrapped in the poncho (just in case) and strapped onto the back of the bike, the wind had died down. 

I decided to head on home, but was prepared to stop if the wind picked up again. Thankfully, things stayed pretty calm. I was enjoying the ride. There is something about driving at night that is actually enjoyable, especially as I don't have to share the road with so many other potentially "crazy' drivers.

That being said, one incident last night got my adrenaline pumping. It involved some damage that had happened earlier in the storm. I was driving along a poorly-lit stretch of highway. I had slowed down significantly so I would have plenty of time to react if that were necessary. 

Suddenly, as my headlight did its best to illuminate the darkness, a shadow rose up in front of me. In the few seconds before I actually reached the shadow, I tried figure out what it might be. I slowed down still more and gave the shadow, whatever it was, a wide berth. 

Was it a pile of sand or rocks dumped on the side of the road for use in a construction site? That is not uncommon, and can be lethal if you hit it at high speed. This shadow was far too tall to be either of those.

It was too irregularly shaped to be a truck.

As I got closer, I could see that it wasn't completely solid. I could also see that it took up over half of the lane I was in. I moved over still farther. As I passed it safely, I finally identified the dark shadow as a tree that had been uprooted in the storm and fallen into the road.

Had I been going faster, or been less alert, I would likely have found myself driving into the middle of the uprooted tree. As it was, I was driving cautiously and was acutely aware of my surroundings. The potential danger was avoided with merely a slight spike in adrenaline coursing through my body. (Adrenaline, by the way, is not such a bad thing in small doses when you are on the road at 2:30 in the morning.)
In life, it is wonderful when we know where we are going and we can see clearly everything around us. The reality is, though, that we often don't see things so clearly. We sometimes have "shadows" loom up out of the darkness in front of us. 

God may have us driving on a metaphorical dark road in the middle of the night. We can't see very far ahead. He gives us enough light to keep going, but we need to use extra care. In the meantime, our Enemy will gleefully uproot metaphorical trees and toss them into our path in an effort to entrap us.

We must be extra-vigilant. We must be extra-alert. We must be aware of everything God shows us in the light of His Holy Spirit. We need to be prepared to respond appropriately rather than merely react when something unexpected happens. 

Rushing ahead and allowing ourselves to be carelessly distracted can be disastrous. If, however, we move ahead at an appropriate speed with alert minds attuned to the road ahead as illuminated by God, we can be ready for whatever "dark shadows" loom up ahead of us.

The Apostle Peter urged those who read his letter to always be alert and sober-minded. He did NOT say to live in a constant state of tension, anxiety, and fear. because our Enemy might jump out of the darkness at any moment to grab us. 

No, he simply urges us to be alert. Be aware. Pay attention. When we do, even nighttime driving on the road of life can be a rewarding experience.

Be alert and of sober mind.
1 Peter 5:8a


  1. Beautifully written reminder and an interesting glimpse into your world! :)

  2. Thank you Tamara. I've been enjoying reading your posts. When you share your struggles, you also give us a glimpse into your world.


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