The Long Car Ride

The longest car ride I have ever been on was 17 hours. It was 949 miles from door step to door step, and do you know what? It wasn’t that bad. In a weird way I enjoyed it far more than I thought. Watching the trees go by and turn into pastures and then soy bean fields was just a delight. I wonder if you had ever had a time like that? For me growing up car rides were mostly not this way. They were often comparable to death, dying, or a long suffering torture. I remember asking my mom, endearingly called Ma, “are we there yet?!” She famously started to answer two hours no matter how far away we were. She had a rule that we weren’t allowed to take our Game Boy’s (your version of the Nintendo Switch) outside of the house. Car rides were slow, and boring, and like I said comparable to death.

Some car rides were more enjoyable though. My dad, with the far less endearing nickname “Old Man,” sang Neil Young the whole ride up from Connecticut to Upstate New York and we loved it. The whole afternoon we sang songs with each other, and to this day it is a family memory.

I think these next few days will be a lot like family car rides. Stuck at home with one another we may feel like we are stuck in a car with them for days on days. Here’s my hope though, that our moments with family members can go from frustrating and impatient to moments of great joy and memory. This devotional is an attempt at giving the tools to do that. It’s also an attempt to make online school , new schedules, and just a weird wacky world a little easier to manage.

So where do we start? How can we begin to make some sense of all of this? The only answer I ever know – Jesus. (As a rule of thumb, if we ever want a good answer on something the best place to start is Jesus.) So what does Jesus say about a time like this? “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place.” (Mark 6:31) When Jesus was pressed by many others, and his disciples were overwhelmed, He knew the answer to it. Getting alone to be with God is the way we love others well. It is the way we make memories. It’s the way we experience the hope of Jesus. I hope you find it in this devotional. – Jack Hein.

Journal Guide: Take some time to get alone today and take about 15-20 minutes to journal through these questions. Journaling is a way we pray to God, so see what God might be telling you.

  1. How have I been feeling with being around my family so closely?
  2. What’s your favorite family memory? Spend some time thanking God for it.
  3. This time of social distancing will be slower than other times in our lives. How
    might you use it to connect with God?
  4. Take some time just to write a prayer to God.

Conversation Guide: Ask these question to your siblings and parents. We think doing it over the dinner table or right after dinner is a great time to do it.

  1. What’s your favorite family vacation or memory? Why does it stand out to you?
  2. What can we do for family time this week? (For example, watch a movie, play a
    game, go for a walk)
  3. The devotion today said, “When Jesus was pressed by many others, and his
    disciples were overwhelmed, He knew the answer to it. Getting alone to be with
    God is the way we love others well.” What do you do when you are overwhelmed?

Prayer: Read Psalm 121 and then read this prayer quietly to God by yourself. Dear God, when I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do I promise to look to you. Jesus your son, always teaches and shows us what to do in hard times. God, you are our help in our time of need. Help me to love my parents and siblings like you do. I love you. Amen.