33 Years ago on RT 33 revisited
Joshua called out the twelve men whom he selected from the People of Israel, one man from each tribe. Joshua directed them, “Cross to the middle of the Jordan and take your place in front of the Chest of GOD, your God. Each of you heft a stone to your shoulder, a stone for each of the tribes of the People of Israel, so you’ll have something later to mark the occasion. When your children ask you, ‘What are these stones to you?’ you’ll say, ‘The flow of the Jordan was stopped in front of the Chest of the Covenant of GOD as it crossed the Jordan—stopped in its tracks. These stones are a permanent memorial for the People of Israel.’” ~Joshua 4.4-7
The stones representing each of the 12 Tribes, so that in the near, distant future and for us today a reminder of what God promises will be done.
During the summer 33 years ago I rode my Kawasaki 750 LTD to Columbus Ohio to visit very important, very special friends Gary and Rhonda. I had a blast of a week for sure. During that week, God was stirring in my heart. Not really sure what He was doing, I knew what I was doing and I knew I wasn’t doing life well. I’m not going to list out all the “stuff” but I knew in my heart I was lost.
Now to be totally transparent the issue that was really going on was simply this: I didn’t know God, I knew of Him. I didn’t know Christ personally, because not much in my life said that Jesus meant much to me. For those that know me, yes I grew up in a great church and yes I grew up with great friends and yes I had parents that knew Jesus, and yes I walked down and aisle and was baptized, but the way I was living was proof that I didn’t know Him. Even back then I was not willing to believe that I could do, go, live as I wanted and then tell people that I knew Jesus.
Back to the story. I had a great trip to Columbus Ohio to visit my friend and something final happened during that week. Nevertheless this final happening led my heart to cry out for help, to cry out for God, to want Him finally. I longed for the “real” thing, like my friends had. A relationship with Christ that was real, not just words, not just a list of do’s (that I couldn’t keep up with) not just the don’ts because I had already broken many of the don’ts. My heart was aching, my mind was struggling and I was heading back to Chicago.
I was riding west on RT 33 out of Columbus about 20 miles out I noticed my speedometer was not working. I was thinking “Oh great, I can’t tell how fast I am going, I will def get a ticket. I looked for a place to pull over and I saw the sign Rest Stop in one mile. So, I pulled in to this little rest stop.
This rest stop was very small, not at all like rest stops today. I pulled in and stopped far from the building so I could work on the bike without being bothered or getting in the way of people. I got off my 750 and noticed that the cable from the speedometer was completely unattached to the front wheel. I thought “Great, how am I going to fix this?” As I got closer I noticed that the cable actually had a nut with threads that connected to the wheel. Easy fix. Just screwed the cable back into the front wheel section and that was it. Done. All good. Ready to ride again.
It was then, there at this little run down rest stop God moved my heart. I’m telling you, I felt it. It was there that God in a very quiet voice said to me something like this: “I know you. I love you. I want you.” It was there I said to God, “If you are who you say you are, and if Jesus lived and died on a cross and rose on the third day for my sin, I believe. I will trust you with my life, come into my life and change me. I can’t do this, but if you are all you say you are, then you must change me.” I can’t remember all of what I said, but I remember saying, I will trust you with my life, I need you to change me. I believe in Jesus as the Christ and I asked Him to forgive me.
I went back to that exact spot today. I was there again 33 years later. I went back because I needed to see it. I needed to remember. I needed to “see the stones” again. I needed to remember our conversation. As I rode up today, I got off my Harley I looked over at the spot and as I began to walk over to the spot where 33 years ago I gave my life to Christ, where GRACE entered into my soul, today I was overwhelmed! My heart was flooded with an incredible memory of the past 33 years of HIS grace, His LOVE, His leading, His WORK….. It was almost too much…. I sat down and thanked Him for His work of Salvation, forgiveness, His all sufficient Grace…. A flood of my failures hit me as I sat there, but within a flash I was back to thanking Him for what I could never do, that is change my heart. For it was there, that day, that HE began to change my heart. Yes, I had to go back today and see those “rocks” to remember, to see again and remember where the journey of knowing God, trusting God, believing in Christ began.
Oh do I remember and I am so thankful. Just like the words of Paul to the Philippians I could today say it today boldly after many moments of doubt over this past year especially “that being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” ~Phil. 1.6
If you are at all like me back then, and you know that something is stirring in your heart, stop and have a conversation with The Living God. He will blow your mind and change your life.