The Gravel Road

I may have mentioned this before in another post but I enjoy driving. I will volunteer to drive almost 100% of the time so it’s not surprising that I will look for any excuse to take long drives. I took a rather unusual road trip a few months ago and I knew I would need to share my experiences eventually.

As I made preparations for that trip, I asked around for ideas including the best driving routes. “The destination is beautiful but expect winding roads,” they told me. That did not deter me. I was excited for the break and so I set out, fully aware of those winding roads that l would need to conquer before I could enjoy my mini vacation.

The drive was a pleasant one. The sun shone brightly in the sky and a long stretch of calm, bright blue ocean buzzed with its own dormant strength. There were a few curves here and there and I was starting to get relieved by the prospect that nauseating curves would not be my experience.  

More than halfway through the journey, my GPS gave me a signal that I would need to take a right turn and sure enough, not long after, an intersection stared directly at me and then a sign that read – gravel road ahead. As if that was not enough there was another one – you know those picture road signs? Yes this one showed that I was heading onto a winding road for the next 22kms. “This is it! The winding roads are here,” I thought.  “Should I turn back now?”

“Focus on the goal,” I told myself. “It’s only 22 kms,” I reasoned. As it turned out, these would be some of the longest 22 kms of my life.

Winding Road Ahead

The first thing I noticed while driving up the steep gravel road was that it was quite narrow.  Just the thought of another vehicle approaching from the other direction terrified me. Any wrong move would lead one of the cars down the cliff without a doubt. I kept driving and looked at the GPS. 21kms to go!! It felt as though I had done 15km already but I was only getting started!!

I also noticed that all the other vehicles that had so graciously accompanied me from the beginning of my trip had somehow disappeared. There were no vehicles in sight on this gravel road for what seemed to me like eternity and I started to fear that I was lost. Phone reception was unavailable at this stage and as I realised this I felt a huge sense of helplessness. What had I done? To make matters worse, the sky was increasingly darkening and it was starting to drizzle.  Did I mention the roads were narrow? Because of this I could not turn back so I kept going.  I would check my GPS again and again and each time it seemed I had only advanced a couple of hundred of metres, a kilometre at most. I became increasingly desperate and began to pray that God would help me to figure out if I was on the right path. I had not seen one car since I left the main road. I must have driven for about three minutes after saying that prayer when I saw a car parked up by a parking bay. I was so relieved.  There was no one in the car and so I assumed the driver was hiking in the forest but that gave me enough hope to keep going.  

The road didn’t get easier to manoeuvre unfortunately. It grew steeper. The sky grew even darker and the air grew foggier. I was terrified and was almost at the point of tears when about 10km into the journey I saw a Black Mitsubishi Outlander driving in front of me – making its way possibly to my destination as well. I was ecstatic. It felt to me that God had sent me an Angel in the form of a Mitsubishi Outlander driver. In addition to that, another vehicle approached from the other direction. I started screaming with joy.

After that point I checked the GPS and saw that I had another 5kms to travel on the gravel road and by then we (the people in the Mitsubishi Outlander and I) had started to descend although the road was still quite windy. As we made the descent, we stumbled onto a flooded portion of the road and at that point, the Outlander  stopped completely and a passenger slid out of the car to investigate the situation. He went back into the car and must have assessed the hazard to be low because just after, the Outlander drove over the flooded section. I took the leap of faith and crossed too. The Outlander lingered on afterwards as though to make sure I had also crossed safely. This was at about 17kms into the gravel road. There was definitely no turning back now.

About 3kms later, the Outlander slowed down and parked up on the side of the road as if to say – “My job here is done.” I was very grateful for having journeyed with this car and felt a level of confidence to complete the lag on my own. I was starting to get excited at the thought of completing the journey. A few more minutes and I would be on a “normal” road again!!

I got to my destination safely and journaled my experience straight away.  It was prettier than I had imagined and the pictures that I had seen of it did not do it justice I believe. I rented a little apartment which overlooked the beach and woke up to glorious views each day. What if I had turned back?

I am grateful to God for helping me throughout that journey and for making it possible for me to be in a place where I could experience the joys of His creation. I learnt a lot while driving that day. I know I have written something else about lessons learnt from a road trip yet for some reason this driving experience was more personal – as if God was speaking directly to me about a situation I was facing and urging me not to give up. Perhaps you learnt a few things too through my experience or picked up a few things that resonated with you? I hope so. There will be good times in life – treasure them and yet there will be difficult times. Some difficult times will seem to go on and on and for ages – treasure those too. Learn all that you can from them. Sometimes even with prayer things don’t appear to come right in an instant. At times it will look as though there is no help in sight and that you are on the journey alone. You are not. Look out for those little things that God uses to encourage you to stay on track and encourage others as well. You may be their Mitsubishi Outlander 😊

Father in Heaven please be with everyone who reads this post. Please help them in their individual journeys. Encourage them, guide them and help them to press on and never give up when they experience difficult and unsettling challenges. Lord help each person who reads this to realise and appreciate the good work that You have begun in their lives and not to allow the enemy to destroy their peace and joy and all that You have started to build in them. In Jesus’ name I pray Amen.

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