Get your kicks by reading "God's Route 66"
Taking the road less traveled . . .
Getting off the beaten path is refreshing. It was a warm spring day when our family set out from Northern California for our annual road trip vacation. We live in an area with year-round school which afforded us to be able to travel when the majority of people are still bound by schedules. In looking for road trip destinations, we stumbled on a portion of the famous "Route 66;" a stretch of highway connecting Chicago, Illinois to Santa Monica, California. In our research, we learned this bit of pavement had many names. "The Mother Road." "The Glory Road." "America's Main Street." It was deemed "the place to get your kicks." Even the Pixar movie "Cars" revived some of the sights that have faded into America's past.
The road itself is a testament to the growth of the American Dream. Freedom of travel during free time in individual automobiles. Highway 66 was one of the major roads of the hightway system that was being established in the 1940s. Businesses flourished amid the steady flow of traffic and "fast food" was born. Generations of Americans have a fondness in their heart for what road trips represent and our family was no different. Nuggets tucked into memories of family times, traditions, missteps and sightseeing. Slowly, people began to appreciate that it was the journey, not just the destination that made the trip worthwhile.
For our vacation that year, we found that portions of the Route 66 in Arizona from Kingman to Seligman had been re-routed and many businesses felt the impact of the "new freeway improvement." Business dwindled as more and more people opted for the multi-lane, freshly paved superstreet over the two-lane through nostalgia. But we wanted to experience the true Route, finding the beauty in what most were missing by traveling the dusty two-lane. We stayed at the Wigwam hotel in Holbrook, saw the Petrified Forest, took photos in Winslow at the "Corner in Arizona" made famous from the Eagles song in the 1970s. We brought postcards in Peach Springs as the theme song to "Cars" played in our heads. Life was truly a highway. We toured the historical Weatherford Hotel in Flagstaff, got sodas at the Jackrabbit Trading Post and pet the donkey in Hackberry. We at lunch at the Roadkill Cafe in Williams before detouring briefly to visit the Grand Canyon.
Most of the old highway paralleled a railroad track. Often a train would pace us and add to the adventourous feeling of travel. The topography changed from the salty beach of Santa Monica to the cactus of Valentine, Arizona. Those gave way to the red rock canyon pines in Flagstaff which led to the flat-top adobe structures of New Mexico. The journey was exhilarating and tickled our five senses. It drew me into a deep sense of gratitude for family. For diversity. For America. For creation. The trip down Route 66 reminded me how our God loves variety and the beauty that can be found anywhere. Those who dismiss this idea perhaps have never tasted a cactus pear or seen a lizard sunning himself amid the Joshua Tree Desert. I had taken simple things for granted and decided that I would slow down as time seemed to do as we passed the roadside attractions that stood whispering "come and check us out."
I was struck at the similarities I found between the Living Word which is the Bible and the historical Route 66 that I was on. I am not the first to make this connection. I read "A Look at the Book" by one of my favorite authors, Charles Swindoll and found he saw the pattern too. The Bible has 66 books that are as different as Barstow, California is from St. Louis, Missouri. Yet, they are connected by a common thread, a purpose that makes them part of the same journey. This creative God of ours stands whispering to us today to "come check out my Word." Only those travelers who seek to get off the speed of the main freeway will get to experience what is on the two-lane road.
Matthew 7:13 "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide and broad is the road to destruction and many enter through it."
All of us have a story. Are you curious to see what is God's? Are you willing to fill up your gas tank, drive toward the horizon away from the familiar pit stops and pause to mull over a manuscript that is historically the most translated book worldwide (2,200 languages as of 2002), never moved off the #1 spot of the New York best-seller's list, written by more than 40 spiritually inspired authors over a period of 1,500 years, from different economic backgrounds, different races, three languages and different continents? Stunning claim. What would it say to you?
September 11, 2001. I remember sitting at the kitchen table with an inviting cup of coffee, enjoying a quiet moment before the world changed. We had come through Y2K without so much as a hiccup in our lifestyle, but one year later nothing would ever be the same. For a long time after that, our nation was united and searching for God. The churches were full. Those who didn't normally call upon a higher power found themselves at the end of all other options found themselves in a sanctuary. Some were confused about which god to turn to who would be able to provide them with answers and peace that they were now desperately searching for.
I was scrapbooking one afternoon at a friend's home and wanted to journal a particular Bible verse in my album. I asked to borrow a Bible and she said "We don't have one." A house without a Bible; the thought amazed me. I assumed it was part of every library if just for the historical aspects or handed down from generation to generation, picked up at a flea market or received as a gift. How can such a popular book world wide still not be in every hand? As my chldren grew, I heard conversations of my friends who would put children in "religious activities" so when they grew to adulthood they could make an educated decision about their spirituality. It was like looking at a shelf in a store of religions, all were fairly decent and were just searching for the best price. How could I explain that I believe the Author of the Bible is more relationship and not just one of the options?
John 14:6 "Jesus answered, I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me."
Do all paths lead to God? I do not believe so. Jesus seems fairly clear that He does not compete with other religious leaders. The Bible teaches that Christianity stands alone in its message of undeserving grace as access to an Almighty God. It begins with an honest look at the Bible that is often taken for granted, sometimes hard to understand and intimidaing to many. The book is called the "Living Word." The words on the page don't change and yet they continue to change me. In my different seasons and places that I journey in this life, God will reveal a little more of Himself and I am amazed when I uncover another nugget that I had never noticed before.
Do you love a good romance? The Bible has them. History? The Bible has that too. Treason? Betrayal? Those stories are in there. Poetry? Mystery? The Bible has the adventure you seek and like our family road trip on Route 66, it is the journey that is most exciting and never grows dull. Fasten your seatbelt and join me as we hit the open road of the Scriptures and get to know these 66 books that make up "The King's Highway." Let's get our kicks by letting God speak to us over the centuries into our very hearts in personal and tangible ways. Are you willing to revisit those days in Sunday School when the felt board presentations held some truths still relevant to us today in the 21st century? Are you a skeptic looking to disprove this nonsense once and for all? Whatever the case, God wants to meet you where you are, whatever you are driving and from where you have begun and call home. Trasure Hunters, unite. Our tanks are full and the road beckons. Let's roll!
Next: Genesis. Book of Beginnings.
To Get Started
Get a Bible with a translation that you like.
- King James -- Old English. Some feel the most appropriately translated into English
- NIV / New International Version -- a balance between word-for-word and thought-for-thought translations. Very smooth reading in modern English
- Message -- Paraphrase of original text. A bit too loose for some.
- RSV / Revised Standard Version -- an updated version of the accuracy of King James in more modern English vernacular
Some helpful tools:
- A notebook. Write down thoughts, questions, prayers or items to investigate further as your travel. Like postcards to show where you've been. Don't forget to date the entries.
- Highlighter. A Bible is meant to be marked up. What stands out to you? What would you like to remember?
- A pencil. Make notes in the Bible margians. But make it eraseable since these notes may change with life seasons of gaining knowledge.
- An Accountability partner. Someone you can be a sound board so you are traveling alone. Iron sharpens iron.
More by this Author
Abraham, the Patriarch of a dysfunctional family is the foundation for three major world religions; Muslim, Judaism and Christianity.
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