Arriving at Freightliner one early morning, I was informed that I would be involved in a truck test. This would take place in Central Oregon, roughly a four hour drive from Portland, Oregon. Actually, the test track was an abandoned air base used back in World War II that Freightliner was now leasing. They cleverly re-purposed it into a three-mile oval racetrack by attaching both ends of the two parallel runways.
This racetrack had everything from rumble strips (grooves on freeways to wake up sleepy drivers) to street bumps, which ran a quarter of a mile paralleling the inside of the racetrack where these big rigs were put through a grueling test.
At lunchtime, I began reminiscing about the Israelites marching through their wilderness experience. If you remember, God's prophetic leader, Moses, gained their release from Pharaoh's cruel captivity in Egypt through God's sovereign intervention.
As Moses and the Israelites wandered through the desert, there was much whining and grumbling that covered issues from the staple diet of manna to their discomfort with a hot desert. Historically, besides Job's suffering, this is one of the longest tests recorded in Biblical times.
I am convinced after reading the 'zigzags' of this Wilderness journey (Exodus 13:17-22), God not only used those switch-backs for their good, but used that period of testing to demonstrate His Goodness to them as well.
There were 3 possible routes to the Promise Land:
Involved a straight northeasterly trail through the land of the Philistines to Canaan. Even though this was the fastest, most logical route to take, it was also a precarious pathway filled with Egyptian garrisons (cruel robbers and killers) — those who preyed upon the innocent and the vulnerable.
Involved cutting across the middle of the Negev (Beersheba), thus making their way to the Promise Land. Again, God did not allow them to go that direction, due to trouble and war they would no doubt encounter on this route.
Involved them heading further south, going around Midian where they eventually headed North to the Promised Land. Why would God send a multitude of disorderly people through a hot desert where they would spend the next 40 years going in circles (something like a racetrack)?
Well, it is like the engineers at Freightliner. They develop the tests for these massive machines in the worst of circumstances, thus perfecting the integrity of the truck. Our loyal, loving God does the same with our lives.
Perhaps this is why Moses carried the box of Joseph's bones (Exodus 13:19) with him. It was a constant reminder that God had made a covenant with His people, and has only good intentions toward them, even when circumstances do not make any sense.
God simply allows His people to be on the racetracks of life. This not only prepares them for other challenges ahead, but it also irons out the obstacles in building godly character. Being inconvenienced is often only a divine interruption for our good. It's where the rubber meets the road.
See you around the next lap!