Recently, I went on a 24 mile ATV (all-terrain vehicle) ride in a desert in Nevada. This was my very first time being on a 4-wheeler and I must admit I was a little anxious going into this adventure. I had no idea what to expect. As I sat waiting for my group to get started, my nerves started to get the best of me.
When the group before mine returned, they were covered in dirt from head to toe. It was at that moment that I asked myself, "What have I gotten myself into today?"
The group leaders put us in groups based on our previous riding experience and then gave us a quick overview on how to handle the 4-wheeler. The one thing that stood out in my head was, "if you allow it, the wheeler will take control of you and go where it wants to go -- you have to put your strength into maintaining the path you desire. Let it know that you are in control."
Finally, it was time to start the course which began on a wide open paved road to give us the opportunity to get accustomed to steering and braking and just handling the 4-wheeler as a whole. That part was fairly simple and I was feeling more confident about the ride.
Soon we turned off the paved road onto the true desert land; but it was still pretty smooth -- just very dusty. However, our instructors had prepared us by outfitting us in helmets and goggles.
About the time when I found myself extremely comfortable, the smooth desert land became rocky and the wide open paths grew much slimmer. This demanded much more control. As we went further, the path became rockier and rockier; and much harder to maneuver. Due to the amount of dirt flying around, I could not see too far ahead -- I just had to trust that the instructor was taking us on a safe path and as long as I kept my focus on him, I would be OK.
Along the course of the 24 miles, there were some unexpected twists, turns, rocks, gravel, dirt and hills. However, I just remembered what the instructor had told me in the beginning and reminded myself how I had overcome each previous obstacle. Therefore, I did not need to fear what might be ahead.
Every time I came through an extremely rough patch on the ATV, I felt my confidence rise to the point that I was no longer nervous or afraid but excited to see what I had to conquer next. Once we returned to the wide open smooth dirt roads -- it hit me: this 24 mile journey was an illustration of my life with Christ.
He has given me instructions, equipped me with what I need and sent me out to live my life. Some paths are smooth, some are rough; unexpected things happen that could completely throw me off course. Moreover, if I am not strong in my beliefs and convictions, my flesh could try to take control.
Often times, I do not know what my future holds, but I have to trust the instructor (God) and know that He will not lead me down a path that I cannot handle. Finally, yet importantly, when I face a new obstacle I just need to remind myself how God got me through the last one and with Him -- I cannot fail.