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Some of my stories are published in:
A Cup of Comfort Devotional for Mothers and Daughters (Adams Media, 2009)
Chicken Soup: What I Learned from the Dog (2009)
Love is a Flame (Bethany House, 2010)
Extraordinary answers to Prayer (Guideposts, 2010)
Love is a Verb (Bethany House, 2011)
Big Dreams from Small Spaces (Group Publishing, 2012)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

I Love Guard Rails

We took a road trip one summer from Aspen to Leadville when the boys were little and the girl was a toddler. If you know Colorado, you know that the most direct route connecting those two towns is using Independence Pass.
Ooo, those two words still strike me with trepidation.
It's not like we haven't been over Cottonwood, Vail, Loveland, Monarch, and Milner Passes.
But this trip stands out in my mind because it could have ended in catastrophe.
We had a minivan that we'd purchased while still living in New York.
That car was not made for high country driving. So every time we attempted a pass, the darn car got vapor lock. "Ka-poo-wah, ka-poo-wah, ka-prump."
We'd sit for at least a half hour, then start up the car, only to have it sputter and die about every half mile.
A two hour drive would stretch out to five hours.
Finally, we'd reach the summit and it was smooth sailing from there on down the other side of the pass.
So, anyway, we'd had a lovely day touring Aspen. Now it was time to head for Leadville.
Trucks and other big vehicles are not permitted on Independence Pass. The road is narrow and laden with sharp switch-backs.
Another thing about that pass: I didn't see any guard rails.
I don't like heights. Never have. The only thing that gives me some confidence on these high mountain roads are the guard rails. At least, if the car skids, those guard rails will stop the car before it goes oooooooVrrrrrrrrrr!
No guard rails. You'd think they'd at least put them around the switch backs. Maybe they think guard rails aren't necessary because you're probably driving about 15 miles an hour anyway.
We got about halfway up when the first vapor lock sputtering stopped us. It wasn't so bad there since we were surrounded by really pretty scenery.
Half an hour later, it happened again. At this point we were getting near the tree line.
The third time, we could see the finish line about fifty yards ahead. "C'mon car, c'mon car, just a few more feet. Don't quit on us now!"
Ka-poo-wah, ka-poo-wah, ka-prump.
Not only dead, but slipping back down the 6 percent grade.
Of course I was sitting on the cliff side of the car, looking straight down a couple thousand feet.
I imagined what would be left of the car and us when rescue personnel managed to land their helicopter
on the rocky slope near our crash site.
Not pretty.
Bruce brought the car to a halt and we both breathed a sigh of relief.
There we sat.
The boys unbuckled their seatbelts with excited faces. Ian said, "Wow, look at all those rocks down there. Can we get out and play?"
No!! Bruce and I shouted simultaneously.
Roads without guardrails are no place to play.

  • Sometimes we need guard rails just for our peace of mind. 
  • Other times we need guard rails for inclement weather and the possibility of icy roads.
  • Sometimes we need guard rails for our own stupidity in drinking and driving.
  • Or maybe just because there is always the possibility of fatigue or human error.

Whatever the reason, guard rails save lives. If our car had slipped any further, without the guard rails, we'd have been toast.

The Word of God is like a big guard rail, don't you think? Most of the time it serves as a reminder that our heavenly Father has his hand around our lives. Other times the Word protects us from our own human error or poor judgment or weakness.
Aren't you glad His Word "guards" us from slipping off the road and free-falling into oblivion?
There isn't much to protect you without the guard rail of His Word.

"for He guards the course of the just,
and protects the way of His faithful ones." (Prov. 2:9)


  1. I have never before thought of God putting up "guard rails" in my life but that is exactly what He has done time after time to protect me from my own stupidity.

    Good post :-)

    Have a great weekend :-)


  2. Thanks, Ron. Maybe because of where I live (the high mountains), I think about guard rails a lot!

  3. Hi Dena -

    This reminds me of the time my late husband and I visited Colorado. We encountered some of those switchbacks. I loved the state, but I like guard rails too!

    People think about God's commands as restrictions, but they're for our protection.

    Susan :)

  4. Susan, I remember as a teen thinking that God's commmands took away all my "fun." Now I realize that His commands are meant to protect and bless.