My friend, Barbara, is ninety-eight years old. And she’s as full of adventure and fun as she ever was. I’ve known her for forty-five years and it seems to me she never changes. Being ninety-eight you can imagine the stories she has to tell and she has told me a lot of them. But one of my favorites is the story of her falling into a rut.
Barb lived on a country dirt road in a small mobile home that sat on a sloping, grassy knoll. Her mailbox stood at the bottom of the driveway. Adjacent to the mailbox was a rather deep ditch that separated her front lawn from the road.
Barb said that one day she was feeling a bit unsteady on her feet. She wanted to walk down to the end of the driveway to get her mail. She wasn’t sure it was a good idea but being as independent as she is, she decided to give it a go. She arrived at the box safely, but just as she reached to retrieve her mail she toppled to one side, and over she fell. Right into the ditch!
Naturally, I was quite concerned when she told me this. But that concern soon turned to laughter when she went on with her story. “I laid there on my back for a moment in that rut until I got my wits about me. I did. And then I realized I was so comfortable! So I decided, why not? I’ll just stay right here and rest for a while.” Now, my “concern turned to laughter” turned to astonishment. Barb continued. “I laid there about fifteen minutes or so. The cars were going by. And then I realized, oh dear. If someone sees me in here they’re going to think I’m dead.” Then Barb shrugged her shoulders and said, “So I climbed out and went home.”
By this time I was in gales of laughter. I was laughing at her story and laughing about the nonchalant way she told it. And the more she passed it off as just another fun adventure the more I laughed. She may not know it, but I have worked at being more like her when those types of things happen.
So what does this story have to do with anything, anyway? Well, a few days ago I was talking with another friend who had found herself in a rut. She told me that she has been in similar ruts before. “In the past, I’ve always worked hard to get myself out”, she said. “But this time I’m tired and I’m pretty comfortable with staying right there for a while.” Now your first reaction might be to think that is awful. But let me ask you to stop and think about it for a moment.
Can you relate?
I can. There have been times when I’ve been so tired and weary from the battle that I just want to stop where I am and rest.
My husband is a history nut. He tells the story of during the Civil War how the Vermont Brigade arrived at Gettysburg. They had marched many, many miles with no food or rest. When they arrived at the battle scene their Company Commander allowed them to rest for thirty minutes. With bullets and cannons going off all around them, they all fell fast asleep.
Sometimes in our spiritual walk with God, we grow tired. Sometimes, despite our circumstances, we are willing to stay where we are because we’re too tired, too overwhelmed, or too comfortable to move.
He knows we get tired and weary. He knows we want to be comfortable. And for a time he allows us that rest. Maybe it’s only thirty minutes. Maybe the cannons and bullets are going off all around us. But like a good Company Commander, he allows us that rest. But there comes a time. He sounds the alarm and it is time for us to arise once more. Time to dress for battle once again, time to put on the whole armor of God.
I don’t know if it still stands or not, but there used to be a sign at the beginning of the Alcan Highway (before it was paved) that read, “Choose your rut carefully. You’re going to be in it for the next 1,500 miles.”