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Lessons from the Rubicon Trail

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Have any of you heard of the Rubicon Trail? I hadn’t until my husband and I traveled to Lake Tahoe for a business conference last fall.
The Rubicon Trail is a 22-mile long route stretching from Lake Tahoe to Georgetown, California. Part of the route is roadway, but the other part of it is a mind-bending, bone-jarring, fear-invoking 4×4 trail experience. It’s the most well known four-wheel-drive trail in the world and has been rated “10” for “most difficult.” Jeep proudly uses it as a testing ground for their vehicles.
My husband informed me that he signed us up to go on an ATV excursion on this infamous trail – the 4×4 part. Oh joy! When we reached the dusty parking lot at the bottom of the trail, we were given helmets (yikes!) and masks to cover our faces (for flying dust).
Riders were to be split into two groups. Being the naturally cautious person that I am (I’m a mom. What do you expect?), I immediately asked if there was a group for people who were amateurs (i.e. – a safer group for those who had visions of their children dancing in their head and were afraid to drive real fast). Thankfully, there was. I had to restrain myself from running to secure my place on one of the vehicles in that group. My sweet husband, a daredevil by nature, joined the “safer” group with me.

As we waited to leave, a guy with dark weathered skin and blonde hair started giving instructions. He was pretty gruff with us and his tone of voice was eerily serious. He told us there were really big boulders on the trail (can I leave now?), and insisted that we go smooth and accelerate slowly – no quick starts or revving motors. He repeatedly said, “Do not get ahead of me. Do not drive wherever you want. Where my tires go, your tires go. Where my tracks are, that’s where your tracks should be. Do not drive one inch out of my path.”

His demands made him seem a little uptight. I’m sure they were somewhat annoying to the thrill-seekers in our posse. When we made our procession to the trail, it all became very clear. This guy knew the terrain and the dangers on the trail ahead. He knew that if we went our own way instead of his way, we would definitely flip our ATV’s resulting in broken bones and life-threatening injuries. His rules and demands were annoying to the drivers, but through them, he was protecting us.

There are a ton of people walking the earth today who despise God’s rules in the Bible. They see God as uptight, no fun, arrogant, inflexible, uncaring, and angry. But God is good and his intentions for us are good. His motives are much purer than the ATV guy who was partially driven by liabilities and possible lawsuits against his company. God gives us rules to protect us because he loves us. For instance, when He tells us not to lie, he protects our reputation and protects others from the fall-out of those lies. When he tells us not to murder, he protects us from punishment, guilt, shame, and horrible regret; and he protects the precious lives of those around us. When he instructs us to forgive those who have hurt us, he protects our hearts from debilitating bitterness that can put us in a prison of hatred and negativity that threatens our ability to have healthy relationships with anyone.

God deeply cares about you. He has provided rules so you can find the safest, most reliable way to fulfillment and true joy in your life. His rules are meant to protect you and keep you on the right path. When we go our own way instead of his way, we can definitely flip our lives upside down and risk greater injury to others and ourselves.
As our group maneuvered the Rubicon trail, we kept our tires where our leader’s tires were and followed in his tracks. It was exhilarating, and ended up being one of the best parts of our trip. I absolutely loved it! We all came back from our adventure unscathed. (An interesting note: On the Rubicon, we followed our leader in a line. Each of us had to trust that the guy in front of us in the line was staying in the leader’s tracks. Kind of scary.)

I care about you so I want to ask you to think about something. Look at your life. Are your “tires” going where God’s “tires” go? Are your tracks following directly in his tracks? How are your actions helping or hindering others on the journey who are trying to keep their tires in the right place so they can reach their destination safely?

Always remember that there is someone here at The Warming House who cares about you. I appreciate your presence here and would love for you to come again. You are most welcome here!


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