Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Roadside Assistance

Eph 1:3-8 ‘Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.’

I recently went to Portland for the NW Youth Ministry Seminar. It’s an event that truly blesses me every year. To make this year better, I was fortunate enough to bring my family with me!

So after all our fun and time away, we set off to travel back to Medford. I remember a time, many moons ago, that I could drive myself and make it in between 4-41/2 hrs. Then I got older and slower and it was a definite 4 ½ hrs. Then I had kids… With the entire Pannell clan on board, we’re looking at 6hrs or so! So after being in a car much of the day, the kids were getting restless. “Are we there yet” was getting more prevalent, and then Haddie started crying! It was her time to eat! Despite being only some 40 minutes away, we knew it was time to stop.

We pulled over at the Hugo exit. If you know it, you’ll know there is very little there. It is “nowhereville So we stopped the van, let the older kids out to stretch and gave Haddie to Mom to eat. The sun went down and it got quite dark. After 25 minutes or so, we loaded back up and were ready to go. There was one major problem: THE VAN WOULD NOT START! There was no power when I turned that key! There had been nothing wrong and no indications, but here we were, close but so far away from home, in the dark night, with crying kids. Not the most fun place to be.

After determining I could not fix anything (which took all of 2 seconds :)), I called the Ford Roadside Assistance number in my owner’s manual. It was quite an ordeal. Some sweet girl sitting in a plush office, probably in Detroit or New York, was trying to help by getting my location for a tow truck. I wish I could have recorded the conversation. She was asking “Can you give me any cross streets.” “What about landmarks?” “Are there any businesses around?” Can you see any addresses?” I was trying to be patient. “Ma’am”…I said, trying not to be frustrated “you don’t understand where I am. There are no streets, businesses or addresses. There are trees, gravel and an interstate nearby”. She did not get it. She HAD to be sure of my location but I could not describe it. She was using technology to try and find me, but I could not tell her where I was to her satisfaction.

I pray that we never feel that way about our position in Jesus Christ. It is crucial as a foundation of Christian life, for us to see what has been completed for us in Jesus. From the Ephesians passage quoted above, I hope we see we’re embraced within that wonderful phrase ‘the riches of God’s grace.’ Once we have been saved by the blood of Christ and washed clean in His baptism, we BELONG TO JESUS! We were lost, but we have been found! We can be totally sure of our position, and can tell anyone where we are! We are safe and secure in the arms of our Father!

Brothers and sisters, are you sure of your place in Jesus Christ? All that we do is in him. We pray in his name, eat in his name, and breathe in his name. When you feel lost, you have HIS roadside assistance and assurance :). You never have to wonder where you are. You never have to struggle to figure out your location. There is peace, assurance and confidence in our lord Jesus Christ.

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