I love my truck. Her name is Layla and she’s nothing too extravagant, but she’s a Dodge Dakota that’s been a part of my life since June 2000. She’s the first and only car I’ve ever owned (not counting the precious Yamaha scooter I once owned named “Sputnik”, or my current Harley Sportster, “Bo Jackson”), and I’m her first and only owner. Needless to say, we’ve been through quite a bit together. I’ll try not to overly-romanticize my relationship with an inanimate object, but tomorrow, I’ll cross an interesting milestone with her: together we’ll hit mile 123,456 and that’s got me thinking.
Of the 123,456 miles that Layla has traversed, I’m confident that I’ve been behind the wheel for at least 99% of them. We’ve seen a lot. That truck drove me on several first dates, including the one with my wife 11 years ago. That truck drove me to game 7 of the World Series in 2002. That truck drove me to my high school, college, and seminary graduations. That truck drove me to my own wedding.
And a lot’s happened in that truck. I’ve sang louder and with more confidence in that truck than anywhere else. I’ve rehearsed hard conversations, marriage proposals, and sermons in that truck. I’ve made some really bad and sinful choices in that truck. Really bad. I’ve been filled with road rage and judgment in that truck. I’ve cried over break-ups, over my own mistakes, and over the deaths of loved ones, all in the cab of that truck. I’ve also seen some of the most beautiful sunsets, mountaintops, and rivers from the driver’s seat of that truck. I’ve broken the law from the very same seat. In that truck, I’ve sped on the endless asphalt of the highways and byways of this great country, and I’ve slowly crawled through the rock, dirt, and mud of Mexico. I’ve moved countless friends and their precious belongings at times, and I’ve carried nothing but dirt in the back as well. Many a poignant moment in my life (good and bad, triumphant and devastating) has occurred with Layla.
Maybe you can’t relate to having a car for this long or one that you love this much, but you can certainly relate to mileage. We’ve all got some mileage under our belts, and what I’m about to say isn’t especially groundbreaking, nor is it something you’re hearing for the first (or even 50th) time in your life, but for what it’s worth, let me just say: God, too, has been there. God knows the sort of mileage you’ve got on your life. Maybe your mileage includes more breakdowns, accidents, and tune-ups than you’d like, and perhaps you’ve got lots of dents, stains, and peeling paint to deal with, but God’s been there. He’s been there for the open road and for rush hour traffic. He’s been there for the good decisions and the bad, the momentous days and the shattering ones. It does me good to picture God in the passenger seat for the 123,456 miles I’ve driven in my truck, and all that those miles represent. God was there. With me. He’ll be there for the next 123,456. He knows the miles. All of them.
You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life (and mile in my truck) was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. –Psalm 139:16, parenthetical thought is mine