There is a road in Italy called the Stelvio Pass. This zigzag road stretches 1.7 miles and has approximately 48 hairpin bends. Many say it is beautiful to look at from a distance, but it can be very dangerous to drive. I first stumbled upon a picture of the Stelvio Pass when researching places to travel in Italy and Switzerland in 1999. The picture above sits in a folder on my desktop. I have kept this picture because it provides a reminder to me that I need a life of faith.
I have lived in three states, moved more times than I can count, and had four different careers. My children have struggled with either anxiety, attention issues and/or learning differences, and I have lost friends and loved ones far too soon. These are my unexpected turns. And, without faith, you would have found me on the side of the road, hood up, wheels flat, and hanging off the edge. It is only God who has carried me through to the next turn. “So that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power” (1 Corinthians 2:5).
And, I am grateful for God’s plan and the different directions he has provided. Not only is faith a lifesaver, but my unexpected turns have placed me in circumstances to share with others broken down on the same spot in the road. We are given the ability to fulfill His commandment to love our neighbor when we stop to lift up, encourage and love someone who happens to be driving life’s road next to us.
Just as important, as we travel the road of life, we need to remember to stop and enjoy the view. This is but only a glimpse of what God has in store for us. We need to put the world’s worries in perspective and express the joy of realizing what Christ has done for us and what our faith provides. “Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls” (1 Peter 1:8-9).
As we parent our children and shepherd our students, we want them to do their best in school, play hard at sports, worship in Chapel, find good friends, choose excellent role models, and achieve their goals. Yet, there will be turns ahead. We need to equip them with a faith to endure the unexpected because ultimately, straight roads don’t make for skillful drivers. And, we need them to reach out in love when they go through struggles but also learn to truly enjoy each and every moment. This is one of the reasons why I love Saddleback Valley Christian. We come alongside our students to meet them where they are at. We speak life and faith into them so that when they walk across the stage and into life, they have a secure faith to endure whatever road lies ahead.