Sunday, November 26, 2006
All I need is Jesus
I travel a lot in my work. Journeys always remind me of the journey we are all on. I often learn important lessons along the way. One day I was traveling by taxi up over the high pass at Caradhas and on down the long valley that leads into Rohan and the great city of Edoras. In the taxi were fourteen people whom I did not know. We were crammed into the jeep and it was easily one of the most uncomfortable rides I have ever had. Caradhas can hardly be considered a pass as the broken rock shelf that locals call a road meanders up nearly 4000 meters. As we wound our way up the ten year old girl who was packed in near my feet in the middle of the taxi got motion sickness. We knew she was ill because she kept throwing up in the jeep. The parents asked me if I had any medicine and I replied that I had some peptobismal but that would only help if her stomach was upset, not her head. She took the tablets which were not particularly helpful. After that all her vomit was bright pink. As we trundled along in this pleasant way I began to tally up the things I needed to do on this trip. I needed to get to Edoras and meet with some friends, have a meeting about the work, eat dinner with some former neighbors, and two or three other completely ridiculous and unrealistic expectations. The journey can take as little as six hours even though a sane driver would do it in eight. Our jeep was not doing the job. It was slow. Finally, we reached the other side of the pass and were heading down the river valley. We made several detours to drop people off. I was glad to get rid of some of the passengers and get some leg room. I was particularly glad when the young sick girl and her family got off- out of compassion for her, of course! But then we came to a bridge that was out. It was normal practice back then- though they are in good shape now- to have cars and trucks drive over the bridges in that valley until gapping holes the size eighteen wheel trucks appeared. Then the best part of the population of a local village would pour onto the bridge with wood and cover up the holes. This usually took a couple of hours and then traffic would resume again. I began to check things off my list. Well, eight hours are up, I guess that means no meeting in the afternoon. Then ten hours were up and that meant no meeting with the former neighbors. Then twelve hours.... then fourteen.... I was hoping against hope that I could get there in time for any kind of meal at all before I went to bed. I was hungry, very tired, and wearing all the dust of Middle Earth. My head was spinning from all the zig-zagging back and forth on the road and I was thoroughly irritated. I laid my weary head against the window and looked up. The stars were out in force and they were gorgeous. Unbidden a song came into my head. 'All I need is Jesus. All I need is Jesus All I really need is Him.' It was an old Farrel and Farrel tune from the early Eighties. I had not thought of it in years. 'All I need is Jesus. All I need is Jesus. All I really need is Him.' It repeated over and over, soft and reassuring. And then it hit me. Is that true? Is He all that I need? Because He is here. I know that theologically more than experiencially but still I believe that He is. And IF He is then, according to this song, I have what I need. All of it. The striving, the juggling of plans, the worry and the irritation are all lies. They are not true because they are not what I need even if I tell myself that I need them. I relaxed there in that moment and knew peace for the first time in fourteen hours. Today, why don't you do the same?