Little House on the Freeway

Little House on the Freeway          In a world that’s wracked by sin and sorrow

          There is peace.

          When you find no hope for your tomorrow

          There is peace,

          When it seems your heavy burden is much too much to bear.

          In Jesus, there is perfect peace.


          There is peace, there is peace,

          In the midst of every storm of life, there’s peace;

          If you’ll put your trust in Jesus

          And let Him have His way,

          You’ll find peace, perfect peace today.


          If you’re tired of all life’s rush and hurry,

          There is peace,

          If your mind is filled with fear and worry,

          There is peace,

          When your problems overwhelm you and fill you with despair,

          In Jesus, there is perfect peace.


          There is peace, there is peace,

          In the midst of every storm of life there’s peace;

          If you’ll put your trust in Jesus

          And let Him have His way,

          You’ll find peace, perfect peace today.


Rodger was overwhelmed by a calm that came from above. Humbly, he accepted God’s gift of rest for his tired soul. It was like a soothing salve from the hand of

God.


My grace is sufficient for you, Rodger, because My power is perfected in your weakness.


A few days later, Rodger and Candy took their last look at the body that once was home to their daughter. They faced their darkest hour with a courage and dignity

that only God could supply. They learned the foundational principle of rest that would carry them through the lonely years of adjustment that followed Jennifer’s

untimely death. That principle is the realization that REST IS A CHOICE.


In many of our trials, there is no rest from, but there is rest in. Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and overwhelmed by your circumstances, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble at heart, and you shall find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28, my para-

phrase).


The Lord’s words are timeless. They stretch through twenty centuries to meet a couple standing by a child’s simple grave or settle in the spirit of a confused father

watching an infant take her first fragile breaths. They reassure us that our quest for rest is reachable. But it has to start within us before it can move outside of us. The

pressures that create restless spirits can be countered by the elements of genuine rest. But these external solutions assume that we first have accepted God’s internal solutions.

          He loves us.

          He made us with a purpose.

          He guarantees us hope.

          Rest is an attitude based on truth that we’re certain of, regardless of the doubts. It’s a deposit that our mind makes to the accounts of our hearts when we know the pressures aren’t going to be quickly removed. We claim it more often and exercise it more regularly when we view it as a strategy for persevering, rather than an escape hatch.


We may learn it vicariously by watching cherished friends go through the nightmare of death, or we may learn it during an anxious night next to a struggling child. But its lessons must be learned.


God’s rest doesn’t guarantee that we will grieve or feel less anguish, but it does guarantee that we will hurt differently. It’s a divinely altered perspective that won’t

let us lose sight of the fact that we are loved, even at the depth of our despair.

 

(Pgs. 51-2)






The Gift of Guilt


W hile we may never have thought of it this way before, one of the greatest gifts God has given us is the ability to experience and feel guilt. While

 Freud and others have called it the “universal neurosis”—a destructive force in people’s lives—it can actually be something God uses to protect us.


I’m not saying that all guilt is good. Imaginary guilt, or guilt imposed on us by people wanting to control us doesn’t serve our best interests. Scripture tell us there is a sorrow that leads to death, but also speaks of a “sorrow that leads to repent-ance” (2 Corinthians 7:9-10) It’s this second aspect of guilt that we need to make our ally, not our enemy.


Guilt serves us spiritually the way fever serves us physically. When we get a fever, our body is telling our mind that we have a sickness somewhere. A person who

wants to get better doesn’t ignore his symptoms. Neither does he hate himself be-cause he’s feeling sick. Rather, the negative feelings act as a physical reminder that the fence has been crossed between sickness and health.


In the same way, guilt tells us that something is wrong with us emotionally or spiritually. It says in a clear way, You’re stepping outside the fence by making this decision.....pursuing this relationship. . . avoiding this person. . . accepting this invitation.


To use another analogy, guilt is like the oil light on the instrument panel of your life. When it comes on, it’s saying “Hey, friend, check your life! You’re headed for

problems if you don’t!” You can choose to ignore this spiritual warning light—you may even, by’ repeated sinning, sever the wires that connect it—but ultimately the consequence of your sin will bring your life to a screeching halt.


As we close this chapter, let me make two suggestions. which can help you grab hold of this crucial element of rest. The first has to do with the subtle difference between “beliefs” and “values,” and the second with the incredible impact living within the lines can have on your friends and loved ones.



COMING HOME TO GOD’S BOUNDARIES

For the past twenty years, [1987] our nation has been shifting from living according to beliefs to living according to “values.” Let’s define the difference.


A belief system answers the question, “What is right and what is wrong?” A value system answers the question, “What am I going to do?” Beliefs form the foundation

on which we anchor our lives, and give us a clear standard to live by. Values, on the other hand, should be an out-growth of our beliefs. Beliefs should represent our absolutes; values should represent the actions we take based on those beliefs.


For the Christian, there is another aspect thrown in. Instead of simply asking, “What is right and wrong?” we have been given guidelines in God’s Word that call us to say, “Because of my belief in Christ, what is right and wrong?” Beliefs take their shape in that book which sits on our night shelf or that we carry to church—the

Scriptures. Values are those actions which should flow out of the beliefs we form based on His Word—a recognition that we are the Lord’s and our lives are not our

own. With this in mind, let’s move from the theoretical to the practical.


To ignore or explain away our beliefs and then insist we still have “values” is like trying to wag a tail that is no longer attached to the cat. My friend Tom had an absolute understanding—a firm belief—on the sanctity of human life . . . until it inconvenienced him. Then he simply adjusted his values so that they were more comfortable to live with. He quit asking the question, “Based on the Scripture, what is right and wrong?” and simply stuck with the question, “What shall I do?” His values still had to have a base to stand on, only now instead of resting on God’s word, they stood on shifting sand.


As a nation, we have dealt with difficult moral issues in much the same way my friend Tom dealt with his dilemma. Instead of holding firm to the bedrock biblical

issues of right and wrong, we have simply “changed our minds” about whether something is right or wrong.


We used to be a nation largely opposed to gambling. Today, an increasing number of churches run bingo games, and most states run lotteries. Drinking was once

frowned on. Today nearly two-thirds of Americans drink at least casually. Premar-ital sex was the exception in the past; now it’s the rule. According to federal statis-tics, half of the women getting married during the 1960s had sex before marriage. Today, more than four out of five women getting married report they have had sexual experience.


There is a crucial distinction about those statistics. Of the 50 percent of the women getting married in the l960s who confessed to premarital sex, most of them would have admitted that their actions were “wrong.” If you polled the 80 percent of the women getting married today [ 1987] who admit to premarital sex, few of them would say they did anything wrong.


Once we left our belief system behind—what God’s Word has clearly said about right and wrong—we also began turning down the volume on our conscience. And

therein lies the greatest threat to rest in our home . As we become more comfortable at having one standard for our spiritual destiny and another for our daily choices and actions, we complicate the task of parenting—and increase our personal

level of restlessness. Here’s the bottom line regarding the element of rest: We need to align our actions with our beliefs . In so doing, we acknowledge that there is a protective fence God has put around our behavior. We honor Him, we honor our loved ones, and we honor ourselves by respecting it. If we try to explain away its existence, we’re going to trip headlong into a world of hurt.


If we haven’t done so already, we need to ask ourselves a difficult question that demands an honest answer. Are there areas, responses, goals, relationships, or

dreams in our life that we know, today, are outside the boundary of God’s Word? To whatever degree we have walked outside the fence to embrace these things—no

matter how attractive the fruit—we are, to that degree, preventing ourselves from experiencing genuine rest.


God promised to lead Joshua and the ancient nation of Israel to a place of rest. But along with the promise came a warning. “Be strong and very courageous....Don’t turn from [the law] to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go” (Joshua 1:7).


In some cases, staying within the fence of God’s word is far more difficult than walking outside it—but our sleep will be sweeter and our life filled more fully with His rest . And that’s not all. Our example of living life within the lines can lead others to find rest as well. Just as it did for one pastor several years ago.


Limits Which Provide Lessons

There was a pastor of a large congregation who preached a sermon on honesty at each of his church’s three services one Sunday morning. The next day, with his car in the shop, he decided to use the local bus to get to his office.


He stepped up into the bus and handed the driver a five dollar bill. (This really was several years ago and the words, “Exact change, please” had not yet been invented

by bus drivers.) The driver took his money, gave him his ticket and a handful of bills for change.



 When the pastor got to his seat and went to put the change back in his wallet, he noticed that the driver had given him too much. For the duration of the bus trip,

the pastor made every attempt to rationalize why he should keep the change. He thought, “Maybe God knew that I needed some extra money this week” or “I could

give this extra money to God’s service.”


But his conscience wouldn’t let him off. On his way out the door, he stopped and handed the money to the driver. “I’m afraid you made a mistake,” he said, “You’ve

given me too much change.”


The driver smiled, “There was no mistake, pastor. I was at your church yesterday and heard you preach on honesty. When you handed me that five, I thought I’d

see if you were as good at practicing as you are at preaching!”


As the bus idled at the stop, the driver continued. “You know, Sunday was the first time I agreed to go to church with my wife. I’ve always thought you guys were a bunch of phonies, but I guess there’s more to it than that. I’ll see you next Sunday.”


“No fair! Entrapment!” some might shout today. Yet this bus driver saw in real life that this pastor’s beliefs and his actions corresponded—and it led him to a personal faith in Jesus Christ.


How about us? Are we experiencing the benefit of concrete beliefs and correspond-ing actions? Husbands, like it or not, your wife is looking at you today and asking that question. Wives, it’s being asked of you, too. Parents, get ready to be tested if you haven’t been already. Children can sniff out hypocrisy like a pet duck can sniff out popcorn. And while we may put on a great front with those who don’t know us as well at work or at church, this is the day of investigative reporting and “no holds barred” analysis. If what we say we believe isn’t what we live, we don’t have to be a political candidate to be found out.


We give our family and ourselves an incredible gift when we make the decision to live within God’s limits. It opens the door to genuine rest in our lives, and perhaps

even more importantly, it models the pathway to rest that they can follow in theirs.


                                                                                                                 (Pgs. 75-80)




LOVE IS ETERNAL. Although the marriage vows are confined to time, love isn’t. Although death will someday separate me from my wife, we will meet again in heaven. Friends who embrace Christ for their salvation need to be viewed as eternal friends.


I picked up a collection of the works of Edgar Allan Poe not long ago and read my six-year-old daughter Karis some of his poems about love.


My favorite was her favorite “ Annabel Lee.” She enjoyed it so much that she asked me to help her commit it to memory. In the days that followed, I reviewed it

with her until she had it word perfect. If you recall the poem, Annabel Lee was a young girl whom Poe loved. But she came down with pneumonia and died before

they were able to be married. The poem talks about love that is not able to be consumed by death.


                              It was many and many a year ago,

                                         In a kingdom by the sea,

                              That a maiden there lived whom you may know

                                         By the name of Annabel Lee;—

                              And this maiden she lived with no other thought

                                         Than to love and be loved by me.


                              She was a child and I was a child,

                                         In this kingdom by the sea,

                              But we loved with a love that was more than love—

                                         I and my Annabel Lee—

                              With a love that the winged seraphs of Heaven

                                         Coveted her and me.


                              And this was the reason that, long ago,

                                         In this kingdom by the sea,

                              A wind blew out of a cloud by night

                                         Chilling my Annabel Lee;

                              So that her highborn kinsmen came

                                         And bore her away from me,

                              To shut her up in a sepulchre

                                         In this kingdom by the sea.


                              The angels, not half so happy in Heaven,

                                         Went envying her and me;—

                              Yes! that was the reason (as all men know,

                                         In this kingdom by the sea)

                              That the wind came out of the cloud, chilling,

                                         And killing my Annabel Lee.


                              But our love it was stronger by far than the love

                                         Of those who were older than we—

                              Of many far wiser than we—

                                         And neither the angels in Heaven above,

                              Nor the demons down under the sea,

                                         Can ever dissever my soul from the soul

                              Of the beautiful Annabel Lee:—


                              For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams

                                         Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;

                              And the stars never rise but I feel the bright eyes

                                         Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;

                              And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side

                                         Of my darling, my darling, my life and my bride,

                              In her sepulchre there by the sea—

                                         In her tomb by the side of the sea.

 

After reading the poem together, Karis and I  had   one of the best conversations

about time and eternity we had ever had. It was an opportunity to review with herd

again the truth that love isn’t confined to time. I want her to view the people she loves from an eternal perspective. That understanding can medicate her heart when it gets broken. When she loses someone she dearly loves, there will still be reasons to smile.


My mother died when I was thirty-four. I could go. into a moving eulogy about what a great woman she was,. but she wouldn’t have preferred that.

                                                                                                                 (Pgs. 87-8)




I ’ll take it one step further: I’m convinced that an eternal perspective is the only thing that can give us the ability to actually look forward to growing old. Sure, there are liabilities. That’s obvious. But there are assets that can offset them. Maturity steps in where youth steps out. Knowledge makes way for wisdom. Time becomes the valuable commodity it should have been from the beginning . And relationships become our life.


I should also mention that you finally get offspring that you get along with grand- children. The reason that grandparents bond so well with their grandchildren is

because they share a common enemy.


Regardless, it isn’t so bad growing old when you know that death isn’t a period at the end of your life, but a comma separating the good from the best.


We have a cassette tape in our car that my whole family enjoys listening to. There is one song on it we fast-forward to over and over again . It’s a piece by Steve and Annie Chapman called “The Seasons of a Man.” It’s one of the best songs I’ve heard that deals with the process of aging. It’s also a great tool for keeping an eternal perspective in the minds of my kids.


In the first verse the voice of a little boy comes on singing about the first season.


          I am the springtime, when everything seems so fine.

          Whether rain or sunshine, you will find me playing.

          Days full of pretending.

          When a dime is a lot to be spending.

          A time when life is beginning.

          I am the springtime.


He is followed by an adolescent voice that sings about his season.


          I am the summer. When the days are warm and longer.

          When the call comes to wander, but I can’t go far from home.

          When the girls become a mystery. 

          When you’re barely passing history.

          And thinking old is when you’re thirty.

          I am the summer.


A voice of a man in his late thirties or early forties sings next.


          And I am the autumn days. When changes come so many ways.

          Looking back I stand amazed that time has gone so quickly.

          When love is more than feelings.

          It’s fixing bikes and painting ceilings.

          It’s when you feel a cold wind coming.

          I am the autumn days.


The last voice sounds stooped and tired. But it sings with an air of eternal wisdom and confidence.


          I am the winter. When days are cold and bitter.

          And the days I can remember number more than the days to come.

          When you ride, instead of walking.

          When you barely hear the talking.

          And goodbyes are said too often. 

          I am the winter ...

          But I’ll see springtime in heaven, and it will last forever.


An Eternal Perspective Changes the Way We View Time

Time is a commodity. A fixed number of days consumed but not replenished. It is the constant ticking on our wrist or the numbers that silently stare at us from our clock radio during a sleepless night. We block it into neat little days, stack them on top of each other, and call them months. We attach a pretty picture to the stack and

package it as a calendar. But it’s always moving. Racing forward. Ready or not. There it goes.


Time is a process. It’s a homemade growth chart penciled on the doorjamb of the kitchen. It’s boxes of neatly folded baby clothes stored in the toolshed. It’s year-books with personal, handwritten notes from people you don’t even remember. It’s when you no longer care whether you win or lose, but how you play the game.


Time is an effect. “Gee, Daddy, your hair is getting a lot grayer.” “This belt’s too small!” “I set out to do ten pushups but couldn’t remember what number I was on.”

It’s when you no longer care whether you win or lose, but J you can play the game


How we view our time has everything to do with our ability to enjoy genuine rest. An eternal perspective helps us see time as a gift to be given to others, a precious

investment in people who will live forever.


Perhaps you’ve run across the following story of a father and son who took two different views toward the proper use of time. They had the same last name and

some similar physical characteristics, but other than that they were as different as the night is from the day.


They farmed a little piece of land, and a couple times a year they would set out with their wagon filled with vegetables for the market in a nearby big city. The father

set a modest pace leading the ox as the son sat fidgeting on the seat.


“Dad, we need to hurry so we can make it to town by tonight. We’ve got to set up early enough to get the best prices.”   “Don’t worry, son, we’ll get there soon enough.”


After an hour and a half of watching his father casually walking beside the beast, the younger man insisted on taking his turn at leading. The father lay down on the seat to take a nap as the son started poking the ox with a stick and harassing him to pick up his gait.. The father peered out from under his hat at his impatient boy.

“Take your time son.. You’ll last longer.” The determined boy just shook his head in disgust. He swatted the ox’s back with a vengeance. Several hours later the father sat up and stretched. “Look son, my brother’s house. Pull in so I can visit

him. We live so close but see each other so little.” “Father, we really don’t have the time!”


“What do you mean? .All we have is time.. That’s why I want to use some of it talking to him.


The two men visited and laughed while the son paced. After an hour the father and son were back on the road. The father was leading when they came to a fork in the road. He nudged the ox to the right.    “The path to the left is quicker!”


“But this way is prettier, son.    “Have you no respect for time?” “1 certainly do. That’s why I like to spend it looking at beautiful things.” The young man pulled his hat down over his eyes, crossed his arms, sat back in the seat, and tapped his very

nervous foot against the harness. He was so busy stewing that he failed to see the beautiful garden of flowers that blanketed both sides of the path.


Toward dark the father pulled over the wagon and started to unharness the ox for the night. The son didn’t hide his anger.


“This is the last time I make this trip with you! If we had followed my plan we would have been there by now. We could have been set up for tomorrow’s buyers -

and been sold out by noon. You’re more interested in flowers than in making money!” Why, that’s the nicest thing you’ve ever said to me!”


With that statement the father found a comfortable spot to lie down and was quickly asleep. At dawn the son had the ox harnessed and his sleepy father in the seat. After an hour or so they came on a man whose wagon was stuck in a ditch. “Let’s help him, son.” “And lose more time!” “Nonsense. You may be in a ditch your-self someday.”


They helped the man out, and then started back on the path. It was about eight o’clock. Up ahead a flash of lightning crossed the sky, the thunder rolled off in the

distance, and the skies turned black.


“Looks like the city is getting quite a storm.” “If we had been there, we would have had enough of our produce sold by now to not have to worry about the storm.”

“Take your time, you’ll last longer.”


It wasn’t until late in the afternoon that they reached the bluff overlooking the city. They both stared down at it and what they saw it for a long time without speaking. Finally the son looked at the father. “I see what you mean, Dad.”


And they both turned their cart around and walked away from what had once been the city of Hiroshima.

(Pgs. 91-95)






I t hadn’t diminished the excitement and love they felt toward each other. John could tell that their love had not stopped growing since the day of their wedding —over a half century before.


Intrigued, the singer finally had an opportunity to ask the old man the secret to his success as a husband.


“Oh,” said the old gentleman with a twinkle in his eye, “that’s simple. Just bring her roses on Wednesday—she never expects them then.”


The conversation inspired a song—and a fitting way to end this chapter.


                    Give her roses on Wednesday, when everything is blue,

                    Roses are red and your love must be new.

                    Give her roses on Wednesday, keep it shining through,

                    Love her when love’s the hardest thing to do.


                    Love isn’t something you wait for,

                    Like some Feeling creeping up from behind.

                    Love’s a decision to give more,

                    And keep giving all of the time.


                    Give her roses on Wednesday . .


                    It’s easy to love when it’s easy,

                    When you’re in a Friday frame of mind.

                    But loving when living gets busy,

                    Is what love was waiting for all the time.


                    Give her roses on Wednesday ...

                                                                            (pg. 165)

SOURCE:

LITTLE HOUSE ON THE FREEWAY

Copyright @ 1987 by Tim Kimmel

                    Published by: Multnomah Press

                    Portland, Oregon 97266

                              Multnomah Press is a ministry of

                              Multnomah School of the Bible,

                              8435 NE Glisan Street. 97220

Tim Kimmel is a conference speaker for:Generation Ministries,

                                                                                  P.O. Box 31031,

                                                                                  Phoenix, AR 85046

                                                                                  (602) 996-9922


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