Dear Beachside Family and Friends,
Some years ago I was driving west on Interstate24 between Chattanooga and Monteagle. The road had very little traffic, and the experience was actually thoroughly boring. Droning along mile after mile through the same scenery had little interest for me, and I began to experience an overwhelming desire to put the pedal to the metal, shatter the speed limit, and put some excitement into the whole tedious affair.
I was just about to put the hammer down when a roar like a freight train overtook me, followed by a classic muscle car moving at flank speed. Passing me on the left in a blink, the flying auto drew away at a rapid pace. "That guy must be really enjoying himself" a voice spoke up in my mind, "why don't you join him?" The vehicle quickly fading away had to be running at least 100 mph, nearly double the speed limit. I knew I could never catch it, but the desire to try was overwhelming. The highway was deserted, and there were no police in sight, the perfect formula for a blistering high speed run. The other driver was obviously enjoying himself, why shouldn't l?
Preparing to punch it, I heard a different sound approaching from the rear, a growling V8 and a rush of wind. Flashes of blue and a whining sound shocked me back to sensibility as a Tennessee Highway Patroi Interceptor blazed by me. A bear was on the hunt, and his quarry was in sight. All desire to roll the dice on a high speed adventure fled from my mind, replaced by a sense of both gratitude and conviction. Gratitude that I had not acted on a foolish desire, and conviction of the Holy Spirit for even entertaining the thought of risking a trip to the lockup for an adrenaline rush.
A few miles down the road I passed the trooper and his prisoner on the side of the road. The patrolman was doing his duty, and the driver was going to jail. As I passed by at the leisurely (and legal) pace of 55 mph, I thanked God that I was prevented from beginning a prison ministry in Tennessee. It was a close call, and I nearly blew it.
The quest for thrills in life has left many a seeker in unfortunate positions. The desire for one more drink, one more hit, one more illicit relationship, and one more race can be tantalizing, but ultimately unsatisfying and unfulfilling. The desire for the next high cannot be satiated, no matter how hard we try. Seeking fulfillment in this world is a hopeless task, but the highest levels of satisfaction, peace' and joy are attainable through a relationship with God. Stephen quoted the psalmist David when he said "You have shown me the way of life, and you will fill me with the joy of your presence.’ (Acts 2:28)
The greatest times of excitement and joy can be found in the presence of God. When we make Jesus the Lord of our lives and learn to worship God, we can encounter the most amazing rush of our lives: a high that does not come from risky behavior, but flows from His presence. Most importantly, it can last for hours, days, weeks, months, and even years with no hangover. Now that's GOOD STUFF!
I'm grateful that I resisted the temptation for a quick thrill that day on I-24. Since then, I've found that the most powerful and amazing experiences are in the presence of God. I have also discovered that He travels at the speed of light. When you ride along with Jesus, and HE puts the hammer down, you leave the cares of this life behind and experience the light of life. I invite you to hitch a ride with Him and experience the greatest thrill of all: a relationship with God!