Today I traveled the Oregon Trail.
Unlike Lewis and Clark, I had a GPS to lead the way. And unlike the settlers who traveled in wagons, on foot and on horses, I was in a 2007 Saturn Ion.
It got me to thinking…how on earth did they do it??? I mean, there are rivers…long, deep, wide ones…
…and mountains. Big, tall, rocky ones….
…and miles of undulating, massive ones littered with black, volcanic boulders.
Over and over again I kept asking the question, how did they do it? How hard it must have been to travel over that kind of terrain for that many miles in a wagon!
It brought to mind that song Bonnie Tyler sang in the 80’s…”Holding Out for a Hero.” Remember the line, “Where have all the good men gone and where are all the gods?” Well, we know there is only one God and He reigns supreme so there’s no question there. But really, where have all the good men (and women) gone?
I thought of myself and my circumstances at the beginning of my trip…a little story I like to call “the puke fest of twenty thirteen.” Yes, I drove 11 hours, most of it in Kansas, nauseated and throwing up. Yes, it was extremely unpleasant to only have enough time to pull over and grab a bag to hurl into only to find that the bag is leaking. I then tried to empty the bag out the window. Remember how I said I was in Kansas? Kansas is mostly prairie…no trees…lots of wind. Therefore, the contents of the bag attempted to re-enter the car. You can imagine my delight. And just when I thought there would be an upside to this story, since throwing up usually stops the nausea, I found that all I was going to be allowed was about 2 minutes of relief before the waves of nausea hit again.
I spent 2 days getting over all that and I felt very sorry for myself. But now, I think about women traveling for months and months in a wagon. Some of them pregnant…giving birth on the way and suddenly my nausea isn’t quite so bad. I checked into a motel to recover…not a fancy one but it had a bed, an air conditioner and running water. That’s a whole lot more than those women had.
The “check engine” light came on in my car and I whined because I couldn’t believe something else was going wrong. Ha! All I had to do was find a mechanic and get it fixed. Then I’m on my way down the road at 75 miles per hour. If something happened to their wagons or their horses, it took ALOT longer to fix. Sometimes they were stuck for days, even months.
I know you all didn’t ask for a history lesson. But, like Bonnie Tyler, I’m asking, “Where have all the good men gone?” We’ve all gone soft. We’ve got cars and hotels and fast food and hair dryers and hospitals and air conditioning and anything we need right at our fingertips! Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to go back to a time when we didn’t have those things… especially air conditioning. Not only do I not want to, I don’t know that I could.
I honestly don’t think I know anyone in the world who could successfully handle that kind of adversity and hardship today….not even Phil Robertson. He’s old school and can handle a simple life but he ain’t that old school!
Yet, as I type this I remember…the same God who traveled with those early settlers travels with me. The same God who healed them heals me. The same God who protected them protects me. The same God who guided them, guides me. So, I guess we’re really not that different after all.
I’ll keep that in mind as I join my team in Washington and we minister to a people group who know great hardship but do NOT know our God. Please pray that they know Him before we leave.