Thunder Roads Magazine of Oklahoma/Arkansas November 2014 - Page 32

RIDING ON FAITH The black streak of my Harley was pushing 95, as I sailed down the desolate highway on the wings of the wind. I had traveled to Arkansas to attend a biker event, but stopped by my daughter’s for a visit. My visit extended beyond it’s scheduled time, and I was riding into the late afternoon sun descending over the western skies of Oklahoma. Autumn was evident across the country, not only in its beauty. Pumpkin stands with jack-o-lanterns, haunted houses, and witches on brooms evidenced the upcoming celebration of Halloween. They brought back memories of mischievous boyhood pranks that had extended into a lifestyle of fast motorcycles, anger fists, a fearlessness soul, and alcohol driven roguish behavior. I had lived the image, and I loved it. After all, wasn’t that what a real man was. Nearing the end of the speed zone, I shook my head, as if to clear my thoughts of my 40+ year childhood. As I throttled up to 80, I watched the magenta sun leave it’s high position, to kiss the face of the earth. It kept peeking in and out through the array of vividly colored autumn trees. I could not help but believe that autumn appears in such splendor to let the earth and all of her dwellers know that nature would be shutting down to prepare once again for the new birth of 32 Thunder Roads Magazine of OK/AR spring. Isn’t that what Jesus did, died for our new birth? It’s amazing that the whole universe bows to the direction of the Creator, everything but man. He created us with love and a purpose. He died that we might have eternal life, giving each of us the choice of our eternal destination. In awe, I watched God order the brilliant oranges, pinks and purples of the sunset to embrace the sinking sun and expand into the breathtaking displays of color that the skies of Oklahoma produce day after day in new colors and beauty. Truly the universe proclaims the awesomeness of God. At dusk, I could feel the coolness of the air creep into the breeze with the absence of the overhead sun. My response to a more imminent danger in darkness caused me to sit straighter, heighten my awareness, tighten my grip and assessing everything around me. The freedom of the open road was the boyhood dream that I’ve been living. I had traveled a long way with Christ in the past 20 years and come to better conclusions. Undoubtedly, the decision made on my death bed, was the wisest. At that time the lights of the bike revealed something in the road. I switched lanes, dodged the alligator trail left by an 18-wheeler. My thoughts turned to a question a friend had recently asked me; “When you were near death, what made you decide to choose God?’ I abruptly retorted, “Because I knew, without a doubt, where I was going.” My friend returned with, “So the literal hell was scared out of you?” “Yes,” I replied, “I suppose that’s the truth.” The facts were, I had come face-to-face with my destination. My thoughts deepened, as I began assessing what and why I was brought and held captive to a life of rebellion. Born to be wild, rebellious and invincible, an image that defined me and held me prisoner. Occasionally a slight thought of wrong doing skipped through my mind. I assigned no responsibility nor consequence for my own decisions. I was literally on the highway to hell and recklessly exceeding the speed limit. But my wisest decision came at the end of the road. With 95% of my survival chances gone and clinging to the final last 5%, the acute awareness and paralyzing fear brought with it a final grasp for just one more chance. As I lost consciousness in this world, I realized what a false and unrealistic image I had bought into. What was the point I had to prove-- that I was a “real man”? But, when the cold hard reality of death confronted me, I quickly came to grips with the fact that God had a different idea about a real man. I understood that God had created men to be defenders, leaders, protectors. But I was wrong. Zechariah 4:6 “…Not by