Thursday, July 9, 2015

The Road Trip Miracle

Today, we welcome Joan Deneve sharing one of her road trip adventures.

The Road Trip Miracle
by Joan Deneve

I’m afraid to fly. There. I said it. And your well-meaning platitudes or statistics of how much more likely I am to die in a car crash won’t sway me. My husband is actually a pilot, and he gave up a long time ago. So don’t even try.

Besides, my husband loves road trips as much as I do. At least, he says he does. Maybe it’s because he loves me and gets a big kick out of seeing me jump over hedges to claim the front seat the minute he jangles the keys. Okay. Slight exaggeration. But you get the point.

There’s something about gassing up the car and stockpiling junk food the night before. We usually leave before the sun comes up. I stumble bleary eyed to the car and make my nest complete with pillow, blanket, and carry-on bag loaded with things to amuse me.

But I never seem to dig anything out of the bag. Except food, of course. I usually don’t even make it out of the city limits before ripping into the bags of chocolate. Or the gummy worms. Then when we cross the county line, I rummage for the chips to get the sweet taste out of my mouth. Thus, the whole trip is a vicious contest of sweet versus salty.

But the magazines or books never make it out of the bag. The trip is amusement enough. Like the first streaks of the sunrise. Or a bird swooping down on a lake.

Even on a road I’ve traveled a hundred times, I won’t read or let myself go to sleep. I’m afraid I’ll miss something.

And the best thing about a road trip? Time. Glorious time. A precious and rare commodity meant to be treasured and appreciated. Road trips are God’s little time-outs: To ponder the meaning of life or to mull over a problem like your tongue worries a sore spot in your mouth. 

It’s also a great time to pray. And if you’re paying attention, you might even get a road trip miracle.

My husband and I were traveling back from a weekend trip. We were both enjoying the companionable silence, lost in our own thoughts. It was almost dusk in late January. Cold, dreary. I stared to my right, past my own faint reflection to the blurred images of the bare trees whizzing by. 

My mind drifted to the passage I’d read that morning from one of my favorite chapters in the Bible. John 11. It’s the story of how Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. One phrase played like a broken record in my mind. “Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus.”

I pondered that for a few miles. How special, to have it documented in black and white that Jesus did in fact love these three people. And like a needy child, my heart cried out to Jesus and I said something like this: “I know you’re real, and I know you love me. I really do know that, but sometimes I really wish I had it written down. Not just to the whole world, but singled out, to me personally.”

It wasn’t a real prayer. More like a wish. I remember I was looking down at the floorboard when I was thinking those thoughts. And the moment I raised my eyes, a billboard to my left, across the median lit up as dusk settled into night. And the only three words on the billboard were JESUS LOVES YOU.

My mouth gaped open. I stared even as my vision blurred with unshed tears. We passed the sign, and I craned my neck around to keep it in my sight as long as I could. And I could feel Jesus smiling.

I gasped to my husband, “You’ll never guess what Jesus did for me just now.”

My husband, now hungry, disregarded the wonder in my voice and replied, “Do you think this is the exit to Shoney’s?”

Not to be deterred, I repeated more emphatically, “I just told Jesus I wish I had it in writing that He loved me, and there was this sign back there. Didn’t you see it?”

He barely shook his head. “I’m taking this exit. I think there’s a Shoney’s up here on the right.”

“Honey,” I angled my body toward him. “It was like I got my own personal sign from Jesus telling me He loved me. Don’t you see how special that was?”

“Ah. There it is.” He turned down the service road to Shoney’s and then replied, “Honey, I don’t need a sign to know Jesus loves me.”

Okay. I’ll give him that. Maybe I don’t need a sign either. But it’s nice to know that sometimes God goes out of His way to orchestrate the mundane details of our lives to let us know He’s listening and that He loves us.

And if you’re ever riding south on I-65 from Huntsville to Montgomery, Alabama, you might just see my sign. It’s okay. I’ll share it with you, 'cause He loves you too.


Joan Deneve teaches English in a Christian school and has a passion to help young people fall in love with Jesus and equip them to become all God wants them to be. Joan began her walk as a Christian when she accepted Christ as her savior two weeks before her sixteenth birthday. She graduated from Tennessee Temple Bible College in 1975.

Joan and Rene’, her best friend and husband of forty-plus years, reside in Prattville, Alabama, a charming city in the Heart of Dixie. They count their son and daughter, son-in-law, and seven phenomenal grandchildren to be their greatest blessings on earth.

Joan enjoys time well-spent with family and friends, but finds equal joy in quiet moments of solitude on her back porch. There, surrounded by bluebirds and yellow butterflies, she began writing her debut novel, Saving Eric, which was published earlier this year by Pix-N-Pens.

An active member of her church, Joan enjoys singing in the choir. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and is currently working on the second book in the Redeemed Side of Love Series. She enjoys chatting with fellow writers and readers.

Saving Eric

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