(A note on the lighter side.)
As those at GPC will know, I met with the congregation via video Skype after the prayer meeting on Wednesday night (Thursday morning my time), which gave me much joy. In the course of the discussion, one of the young boys inquired about my motorcycle adventures in Sri Lanka. So I better include a word or two on that note for the children.
Do you remember what you have already seen and heard about the traffic? Well, riding on the back of a motorcycle takes life on the roads over here (already a harrowing experience) to a whole new level. The pot holes in the dirt roads now resemble craters — into which you descend without any certainty that you will appear over the cusp on the other side. Picture darting and weaving in between vehicles (all driving in conflicting directions) while galloping over bumps similar to a wash board that nearly bounce you off the bike. So far, so good. All of that remains standard fare in Sri Lanka, but apparently that provides inadequate excitement.
Now Partheepan enters the scene. The prospects of saddling up on the back of his motorcycle comes with a free grab bag of tricks and stunts (though relatively safe and responsible, of course). He never disclosed his goals to me on our initial spin, but I am convinced that he was either aiming at massive increases of faith for me or cheap entertainment for himself. Despite all my protests about his antics, however, I enjoyed every minute of it. To top it off, the police pulled us over for a routine traffic stop and caught Parthee with his license back at the house. After surveying the scene for a moment and discovering that we were pastors on our way to religious meetings Thursday night, the officer apologized and let us go with a pat on the back. I am pretty sure he just wanted to give the poor, wide-eyed, white guy a respite from the insane driving experience.
The venue for the conference held yesterday afternoon/evening (Friday) and today (Saturday) requires a 45 minute stroll by motorcycle each way. That duration combined with everything I described above provides fresh insight into the concept of being “saddle sore.” I get it now. Furthermore, last night we sped home under the cover of nightfall, thereby limiting visibility by more than half, and thus increasing the invisibility of everything without head lights, which constitutes 85% of everything on the road (Dogs, cows, bicycles and pedestrians suddenly appear just prior to near collision).
All humor aside now, where do we find our safety, children? Answer: in our mighty Lord. You should affirm that truth whether you are sitting on your porch in South Carolina or sitting on a motorcycle in Sri Lanka. Even when we are not conscious of our dependence upon the Lord, the Lord’s upholding remains a reality. John Calvin began most of his worship services in Geneva with the words, “Our help is in the name of the Lord who made heaven and earth” (Ps. 124:8). Consider the display of divine power in speaking the universe into existence. By comparison, keeping us in the hollow of his hand, even in seemingly dangerous circumstances, is a small thing. We must place our trust in him and commit ourselves to his safe keeping and wise disposal.
“I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills,from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth. He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber. Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord is thy keeper: the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand. The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.
The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.” (Psalm 121)
Soli Deo Gloria,
Pastor Rob McCurley