Young men from our church invited me on a three day motorcycle ride covering some incredible twisty roads in Washington, Idaho and Montana. While almost four decades separated me from these guys, chasing their tail lights around mountain passes still gets the adrenaline going.
So glad they invited me.
On the last day of the trip, on our way home, I had an experience with God unlike anything I have encountered of Him before. After reading my story, you may doubt me, but it was as real as anything I have experienced of Him.
You see, some people believe God is totally transcendent… that He is so totally “other” than our human ability even to conceive of Him, that essentially He is unknowable.
Others emphasize that God is immanent… that we can experience Him in ways that connect with our limited humanity.
I don’t think it is either/or.
But let me tell you what happened yesterday, and you decide.
We left Sandpoint, Idaho, in the morning, and headed due west through the mountains and rolling hills north of Spokane. It was spectacular scenery, and moderate morning temperatures. The best!!
Then we dropped down out of the mountains and headed west on highway 2, through the wheat fields of Western Washington, dust rising from combines on both sides of the road.
It would also have been beautiful in its own right…if we had been viewing it from the comfort of an air conditioned car.
The only way to describe the 3 hours from Chewelah to Wenatchee is if you can imagine 15 hairdryers at maximum speed and heat blowing in your face at the same time…and you’re in black leather pants and jacket and a black helmet.
Now, it is important to the story for you to know that I am not that familiar with the geography of the area…and as we approach Coulee City, I say to the Lord, mostly in disbelief, “If I only had enough faith, I would call in a cold front right now!”
Well, no sooner had that thought past my mind, and we turned south and west around the little town, with the reservoir off to our right and a breeze came off the water and immediately cooled our environment at least fifteen degrees.
The riders in front of me, totally unaware of what I had just been saying to the Lord, raised both hands in the air in response to the burst of cool air.
And I just started laughing inside my helmet.
Not just a chuckle.
Out loud laughing.
I don’t know if I can adequately convey what I was feeling in that moment, but I am laughing all over again just recounting for you what happened.
As much as I’ve ever known the voice of the Lord, in the middle of my laughter, I believe He said to me, “Alec, I’m messing with you!”
Listen, I don’t necessarily think the cool air off the reservoir was a direct answer to my tongue-in-cheek prayer for a cold front.
I think the Lord was having fun with me.
So, I asked Him, “Are you laughing with me Lord?”
And I tell you, I believe He said, “Yes.”
A mile later we were back to 15 hair dryers to all the way past Leavenworth.
Now, why is this story even worth telling?
Because I had never thought of God having a sense of humor before…and of
Him laughing with me at my struggle to understand faith and His love for me in something as inconsequential as riding a motorcycle in the summer heat of Eastern Washington.
I am not for a moment advocating a flippant or casual attitude towards the God who dwells in unapproachable Light, but yesterday’s experience at Coulee City opened my eyes to another aspect of His nearness to me.
God with us, even in the desert heat.