Driving along narrow country roads has never been my cup of tea. I prefer the wide vistas of Arizona to the narrow country roads of the east. But here I was. My job had called me to Kentucky and I was left with a free day, my plane not leaving until evening. This was my chance to visit the much talked about Ark Encounter, a replica of the biblical Ark, built with the exact dimensions given in God’s instructions to Noah.
Rising early, I ate the rather artificial hotel breakfast — Were they real eggs? Probably not—packed my bags, and headed out for an adventure. The trip was to take an hour and a half. I typed the address, 1 Ark Encounter Drive, into my phone, and started on my way. The drive seemed simple enough. The first hour was straight driving on the freeway; easy going with a smattering of rain. I listened to the Kentucky radio station and hummed along.
And then, the British voice on my navigation system directed me to turn off the main road onto a lovely little two-laned highway…..for 15 miles. The thin country road meandered through the Kentucky boondocks with steep hills, pastured cows, and as many twists and turns as it takes to make a stranger downright scared. Where was I going? Would I end up in the proverbial ‘holler’? I remembered a Reader’s Digest article of a traveler in Iceland who ended up miles from his planned destination because of his know-it-all GPS. My heart beat a little faster, but I talked myself back into a calmer state.
As one does when one is driving down an unfamiliar road by one’s self, I began to think about life and the surprises it hands us. Sometimes good things burst upon us and we are surrounded by joy. Other life events leave us empty and hurting, not sure what to think, but knowing we are still called to follow the Instructor. We start out with our grand scheme and somewhere along the way things happen and we wonder just where we are. We would never grow in our relationship to our Savior without experiencing both blessing and burden. Yes, all of life is purely biblical, and even as I tossed up a quick prayer, I knew God was reminding me of this.
On, I traveled, purposing that all was well and if I kept on I would surely find myself in the place I ended up! My instructor (Oh why did I set that voice on the British accent? She has a way of making me feel a fool!) directed me to turn and turn again and I breathed a sigh of relief —- 1 Ark Encounter Drive.
Yes, here it was. I parked my rental car, slipped on my sneakers, grabbed my bag,and headed to the ticket booth. Stepping out of the shuttle, I stood, amazed at the enormity of the Ark and all that happened in it. Despite the storm, Noah and his family and all of those many animals floated on to safety.
Not all arks are made of wood. If we trust, we will one day top a hill and see our Ark. It’s not a rainbow. It’s not a promise that all afflictions will vanish. It’s a safe place to ride out the storm. It’s our Heavenly Father holding us tightly when we feel as if our world is falling apart. It’s Elohim — The Strong and Faithful One.
I stood on the second deck, surrounded by cages that would have rescued two of each kind. Looking up through the center of this massive lifeboat I could see the open holes protected by the high roof, skylights of a sort. It seemed I looked straight up to heaven and I thought of my Savior, my Ark, who carries me safely through calm waters and raging storms, always knowing, ever present.
Driving back to catch my plane and wing my way to hearth, home, and husband, my heart overflowed. It was appropriate that the heavens opened and I drove through a torrent of rain as I traveled back over that tiny country road. I hummed an old hymn to myself…The Lord’s our rock in Him we hide….a shelter in the time of storm….
Let the storms rage on. I’ve found my safe place. I’m safe in The Ark.