Rough. Rugged. Reliable. Words that describe the vehicle we rented while on the island of Maui. A no-frills Jeep that was equipped to handle whatever we would encounter while on our outdoor adventures. Although initially it took some getting used to, my husband and I have fond memories of every mile we put on the vehicle we came to refer to as our friend, 'Jeepy.'
As we set out mid-morning on a sight-seeing adventure of west Maui, we packed our camera, picnic lunch and incidentals in the back of Jeepy. Because our jeep was only partially enclosed, we had been forewarned by the rental car company to travel light. We would need to take anything of value with us when we stopped, in order to deter any would-be thieves.
We wound along the picturesque Honoapi'ilani Highway with the sun smiling down on us and the wind reminding us that perfect hair in Hawaii isn't important. Jeepy navigated each twist and turn with ease, adjusting to the varying elevation like an old pro. As we drove off-road to explore points of interest, we were confident Jeepy would get us back to the highway without a problem. We were not disappointed.
When we set off to explore the road to Hana the next day, a few sentences in our guide book gave us pause for concern, "Well, 14 miles past Hana, after the 38 mile marker, the road goes from pavement to gravel that is graded regularly. After less than 5 miles of sometimes bumpy gravel (its bumpiness depends on when you catch it during the maintenance cycle) it becomes blacktop again, textured rough from countless poor patch jobs. After a few miles of bumpy blacktop the smooth highway returns" (Andrew Doughty, Maui Revealed: The Ultimate Guidebook, p. 73). Hmmmmm....This would be a true adventure! We weren't planning on just driving to Hana and turning around, we wanted to continue on to the back-side of the volcano, Haleakala. Did Jeepy have what it would take to make it through the difficult terrain?
Rainbow eucalyptus trees, lush greenery and some pretty waterfalls characterized the drive. Although this side of the island boasted plenty of rainfall, the sunshine broke through as we neared the back-side of Haleakala. Prior to this point, we had experienced hairpin turns and narrow roadways, along with extreme changes in elevation. Jeepy had braved it all.
With no other vehicles in sight, we drove onto the portion of road that was blacktop, albeit 'textured rough.' Had the guidebook said this portion of the road was bumpy?! 'Washboard' would have been a more accurate description! My husband and I knew better than to try to hold a serious conversation - our words would have been lost in the road noise and wind. As the sun began its descent, we picked up our pace in order to make it back to civilization before we were engulfed in darkness. Jeepy's gas gauge was registering a quarter of a tank of gas and we still had several miles to go.
We were never so glad to hear silence, as when Jeepy's tires once again hit smooth pavement! What a relief, we had made it! We had experienced what our guidebook described; the light casting "deep shadows in the water-scoured gulches, the incredibly expansive views of the coastline, the impossibly blue sky against the brown and red upper slopes of the volcano, the angry, wind-ravaged seas, and the utter lack of civilized development" (p. 74). Jeepy had once again proven a reliable mode of transportation.
I have to admit we were sad when we dropped Jeepy off at the rental car company. The valiant, red Jeep that had shared our adventures with us, had become a 'friend' of sorts! I thought about the way Jeepy was well-equipped to handle any challenge the road had to offer. Maybe not the most luxurious vehicle, but built for a specific job.
I'm a lot like Jeepy. God created me with a specific purpose in mind. He has equipped me with what I need to handle the challenges of this life. Others may have different abilities and gifts, I'm not to compare myself with them. Each one of us is unique and special to our Creator. The Lord gave Joshua some excellent advice that would be wise for us to apply, "Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest" (Joshua 1:9; KJV).
When challenges and adventures come my way, I can rest assured that God is with me! He is the reliable One! What challenges are you facing? Remember that God is always with you and He has equipped you for life's journey!