In early June at 4:30 AM, I pulled the Honda ST1300 out of its comfortable garage for our latest Gray Hogs ride, with our ever present goal of finding fresh asphalt. We hit five states (CA, NV, OR, WA, ID), a foreign country (Canada), and covered 3800 miles in 9 days. Yeah, some familiar roads were necessary, but we found a lot previously unridden routes, took the bikes on a ferry ride across Kootenai Lake, dodged some very drenching storms, so our plans were also new. And a lot of new names, Ymir, Metalline, Sedro Wooley, Sultan, Skykomish, and Oronda for a few. Exotic. A fresh adventure. But with some familiar names.
In the first hundred miles I saw the above road sign, reminding me of my grandson. In Redding, Palo Verde Ave appeared, but I grew up on Palo Verde in my hometown of Long Beach. Close by was Conant, the cross street just north of MY Palo Verde. We rode through Longbeach, WA. I found a Westlake Ave, and I’d taught at a school in Westlake Village, CA. Carson City had a Christensen Auto Repair, matching the name of one of our crew (and if you knew Jerry, the idea of him with a wrench while working on a car will have you rolling on the floor).
And I realized what a great metaphor God provided for our ever-changing journey with Jesus. Yes, spiritual change is a constant, “Our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed” (Romans 13:11). We’re on the spiritual road, not there yet, with much fresh ground to cover. I’ve found God takes us, and me, in completely unanticipated directions. Some seem accidental, a few clearly from him, others wrong at the time, but God knows his stuff. So how do we navigate fresh spiritual asphalt, on a road we’ve never encountered?
One primary tip, from this trip. Seek out the familiar, but in two ways. Remember “the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9). Look back on how he has guided you in earlier adventures. Find scripture that applies. Second, don’t go alone. I rode the first 180 miles solo, along with the last 510, and I enjoyed the solitude. But for most of the trip, I had three friends, brothers all, along. We’ve all helped each out along with way, from broken keys to tightening chains, to righting a tipped over bike to strapping on a equipment. And more.
You see, the Christian life continually takes us on new and unanticipated roads. So bring along the familiar.
Kick Starting the Application
Think back on a few of those routes you’d travelled on fresh asphalt. What helped? What hurt? Are you on a fresh road now? How are you handling it? Do you have familiar names along?