by Rick Anderson
When I was a kid, I had a motorcycle that I would take camping. I’d leave as soon as I could on Friday, pack up my backpack with my tent and stuff, and take off to the woods. I didn’t fish. I’d just hike. Or I’d meet my dad for camping and he would meet me out at the woods.
The scariest time for me on my little motorcycle was when I got on the freeway and got passed by a semi. I would move over as far as I could on the right shoulder of the road. The speed limit back then was 70 mph.
As the semi would come up to me in the left lane, it would get even with me, almost blowing me over by the wind that it was pushing itself through. As the truck started to move ahead of me, I would notice that there wasn’t a lot of wind resistance because it was being pushed by this huge truck and trailer. When the semi got in front of me, I would look at my speedometer, watching it increase by 5 mph. It actually felt like I was being lifted up and carried when that semi got in front of me.
But my little bike just couldn’t keep up with it.
NASCAR uses this concept. Geese use this concept. But I couldn’t seem to use this concept of drafting to let this big semi-truck ease the way for me and give me a smoother road.
NASCAR drivers use drafting when they get right behind the car in front of them. They let the lead car take them around the track because they know it uses more gas than they do. It pushes the air to give them less resistance, and they use that to stay behind the lead car. Well, as we follow God and follow this semi of Trinity Trucking closely, we get drafted in the same way that NASCAR drivers get drafted. God clears the way for us. He makes our path smooth.
There are two stories that really come to mind about God lifting us up and carrying us and both of them give a really good look at God’s concept of drafting. One is found in Luke 15:3-7, NIV:
“Then Jesus told them this parable: Suppose one of you has 100 sheep and he loses one of them. Does he not lead the 99 in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friend and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me. I have found my lost sheep!’ I tell you that in the same way, there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over 99 righteous persons who do not need to repent.”
I think about getting carried on God’s shoulders all the way home. I think about when He finds me lost and abandoned and fearful, crying in the wilderness that I’m lost and wanting someone to protect me. When He reaches for me and picks me up, he does not grab me by the shoulders and the neck and shake me saying, “What did you think you were doing?” He does not drop-kick me all the way home saying, “You shouldn’t have left. You shouldn’t have left. You shouldn’t have left,” as I bleat my way past the main sheep of the pasture. But He joyfully puts me on His shoulders and carries me home. When we arrive home, He is giddy with excitement. He is excited enough to call all of His friends to a party celebrating that He found me. I get humbled by that. That Jesus is joyful and happy because He found me after He spent so much time looking for me.
The other story from drafting comes from Isaiah 46:4, NIV: “Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he. I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you. I will sustain you and I will rescue you.”
So, as I’m getting drafted by this semi and trying to follow God, He says He is going to sustain me. To sustain means, “To hold up the weight of; To give support or relief to; To supply with sustenance; To nourish; To keep up; To prolong; To bear up under; To support as true, legal, or just.”
Jesus says He’ll sustain me over the long haul. He will support me. When a bridge sustains the weight of all the traffic under it, it keeps it up, it holds it up.
Jesus takes that weight and He holds us up. He supports us. He bears our weight. He says it twice just so that we don’t miss it when He says He will rescue me. He will rescue me from the road I was on. He will bring me onto His road.
The only downside to drafting is you have to stay close for it to work. Jesus wants us to follow him closely, to keep sight of him, to keep Him in our focus so much that He’s all of what we see. When we follow Jesus closely, we get drafted. That is, we might. If we don’t, we might still be on God’s road and the semi might be a little farther away from us to where we won’t get drafted and carried, but we can still see Jesus. My conclusion: We need to try to keep close.