As we get the season started I spent some time on the road a week ago and as it happens I have a few stories to tell. I think that is one of the greatest gifts we receive as we travel, stories from the road. If you don’t take the time to enjoy the journey, then you miss the blessing of stories to tell. Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Do you remember the time we… So starts the sharing of our experiences as we travel the highways and byways pursuing the fulfillment of our passion to race. The road is a place we all understand, we all identify with and we all have our stories from being on the road. The funny thing about the road is if you don’t make the journey you don’t have the stories to tell. You have to make the journey.

How do we look at the road? Do we lament the miles or do we embrace the experience? I had a relative rookie with me this past trip. He was able to travel with me because he was released from his job and had a little extra time on his hands. While losing your job isn’t a welcome experience he chose to let it be an opportunity to experience the journey. He had taken a few racing trips with us and knew this would be an unforgettable experience. It worked out great, giving me a traveling companion for the journey.

I must confess my view of the road has changed. I, like most guys, always looked to get from point A to B as quick as possible, minimize the stops, maximize the time behind the wheel moving down the road. I attribute the change to letting God have more control over my life, schedule and circumstances. I know that may sound strange, I’m a Reverend after all, shouldn’t it be a given that I follow God. It should but we all have things in our life we need to work on. I am thankful that God has patience with me and He hasn’t abandoned me on the journey. He shows me that if I let him lead the journey, I will be blessed.

So we head out on the road, not necessarily looking for the encounters that only God knows are appointed for us, but looking for experiences to make the journey the focus and not the destination. I follow the advice of Hastings who wrote, “Stop counting the miles. Instead, climb more mountains, eat more ice cream, go barefoot more often, swim more rivers, watch more sunsets, laugh more and cry less. Life must be lived as we go along. The (destination) will come soon enough.”

There are some secrets you need to know, the straightest line isn’t always the fastest way to get someplace. Also, the fastest road isn’t always the one that leads to the places you need to be. Finally take time to recognize that the encounters on the road are only available if we are where we’re supposed to be at the appointed time. Let me explain, take the time to realize that encounters on the road only have a limited window of opportunity. When your path crosses with another’s path, both moving in different directions, with different agendas, there is but a moment for that meeting to happen. When it does, stop and embrace it!

We have talked over the last few weeks about folks that had a face to face encounter with Jesus. We talked about how those experiences changed their lives. I wonder how we have let meeting Jesus face to face redirect our journey? Have we let him lead the way? Zacchaeus, the paralytic, the woman at the well to name a few. Each met Jesus, each had a life changing experience and each left different than when they came. The encounters on the road will change us, they will adjust our focus, and they will reveal to us how important the journey is. 

John 4:3-6; So he left Judea and went back once more to Galilee. Now he had to go through Samaria. So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon. 

Jesus took a familiar journey, a journey he had taken many times, but this time he took a different route. He had to go through Samaria. That was not the way Jews usually went. It wasn’t the accepted way to go. Some would say it was a sin to go through Samaria. But that is the way Jesus chose to go. It not only changed the life of the woman he met there at noon, it changed the life of the entire community. A chance encounter at a rest stop on the road? I don’t think so.

So it was about noon and we had to go through Edinburg, VA because Bean’s BBQ was there. There was no room for us to sit and eat so we headed down the road to the next rest stop. We pulled in and parked. As we got out of the car we were met by an old acquaintance. He was a former Modified crew member along with his son SJ. SJ has moved up the ladder and is now a Tire Specialist on the Cup Team of Austin Dillon for Richard Childress Racing. He was traveling back to NC with his Daughter in Law and Grandson as they had been visiting with them in NJ while SJ was on the Cup West Coast swing. I’m not sure what God has planned but felt the meeting was an encouragement for them. We shared some of our lunch, said our so longs and look forward to seeing each other once again.

Next Stop was Martinsville; Bobby had never be there and we had to drive right by. I had thought he’d enjoy a look at one of the original tracks on the NASCAR schedule. We have been racing here from the beginning. I hoped the gate would be open and we could take a few laps before security chased us off. God set up something better. As they were preparing for the Cup race they didn’t see the need for us to go on the track. They said we needed permission. Clay Campbell would need to give his approval. Not an issue, Clay has always extended to us the opportunity to visit. When I heard he was in the office we went up to see him. He welcomed us in like old friends, took us out in his car to do some laps, shared the history and apologized that it was wet and we wouldn’t be able to take the high speed ride in the specially equipped pace car. He then let us take our pace car out and have some fun. Bobby got behind the wheel and the smile on his face said it all. He was making laps at the historic Martinsville Speedway. Thanks goes out to Clay and the entire staff at Martinsville for welcoming us and allowing us a once in a life time experience.

Our journey continued and the encounters along the road continued. We met several folks along the road, the road less taken. God has so many plans for us that we can only experience if we let Him direct our lives. I encourage you to meet Jesus face to face, he can and will change your life. He will lead you in a direction that is fulfilling and purposeful. As he reminds us in his word;

Jerimiah 29:11-13; For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

Seek God with all your heart and He will reveal the plans he has for you. Until next time, remember God loves you and Jesus is Lord over Auto Racing! God Bless. Remember, that your prayerful support helps us continue this ministry. Thank You.