The Road Goes Ever On…

“The Road,” © Lynn Abbott Studios. Used with Permission.

© 2019 Lynn Abbott

One of my all-time favorite literary lines was penned by J.R.R. Tolkien.

Tolkien’s memorable character Frodo Baggins quotes his uncle Bilbo:  “‘It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door,’ he used to say. ‘You step into the Road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to.'”

Certainly, my life journey has taken me a great many places I never anticipated.  Like Bilbo, I’ve had a few unexpected journeys… although I’ve obviously never met an elf or fought a literal dragon.

Of course, when I was a collegian, I had my life’s itinerary mapped out.

My own happy hobbit life would follow a predictable pattern.  I settled on a major, and dreamed of my career path.  I plotted my financials.

I had things well planned. I had calculated everything… included all the important variables in the equation.

However, I did not bank on the power of my infinite God to change my course.

Abba apparently is not only in the business of creating but also of rearranging.

Evidently, I learn best on the road.

Yet, even though I know all of this, when Abba called this past Autumn, I nevertheless questioned (like Gideon of old) before I obeyed.  After all, I am much more comfortable at home with a cup of tea in hand and tapping out my next blog post at my computer keyboard than I am on the road.

Yet, in my heart of hearts, I recognized Abba’s voice, and I knew without a doubt that He again beckoned me to emerge from my comfy hobbit hole.

In fact, I’m sure He grinned as He gave me a gentle push out the door.

That’s right. Hobbits don’t generally like adventures.  And I am no exception to that rule.

But one simply doesn’t say “no” to our Sovereign Savior. I know because I’ve studied the book of Jonah.  Obviously, he learned the hard way.

So, I left a note for all of you here, and out the door I went.  Indeed, I have not yet returned “home.”  I find the road still rises to meet me; another grand quest has begun…

And I will most assuredly face danger and experience a good many personal “fails”.

That’s right. I sometimes waffle a bit in my obedience.

If success doesn’t seem imminent and Abba appears quiet, I look for the first turn-off and opportunity to run back to my hobbit hole.

I did not bank on the power of my infinite God to change my course.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels this way. After all, stepping out means leaving all things predictable.

God often calls you and me to exchange fireside fellowship for steep climbs and foggy valleys. And to be quite frank, I’m not a fan of either the difficult or the uncertain.

And that is more and more the case, the older I become.

I think, perhaps, that Sarai must have felt as I do.  I often wonder what kind of response she gave Abram when he announced that God, little known to her at the outset, had called them to a country she had never heard of.

Did she roll her eyes and say, “Oy vey, there he goes again…  That crazy husband of mine with his outlandish imagination is chasing dreams once more”?

Nevertheless, despite any misgivings she may have had, Sarai packed their bags, and together, they hit the road:  Canaan or bust.

I’m sure the expedition seemed endless.  She may have wondered if they would ever reach their destination, if they would ever settle.  At the very least, they both probably longed for the comforts of Ur.

After all, nomadic life had its ups and a great many downs.

As did their faith.  Their quest repeatedly tested their convictions.  Yup, even the great father of faith waffled. Regularly.

Actually, Abram’s tendency to second-guess really should come as no surprise.  His ability to see the future was as limited as any other human being living before or after him.

Certainly, our faith’s itinerary doesn’t follow a simple thoroughfare. The inevitable bends in the road require steadfast trust.

Evidently, I learn best on the road.

Abba hasn’t told  me the details of my adventure.  He has simply asked me to realign my priorities… to allot more time for pursuing my art.  But that has meant less time for other things.

Seems like that would be easy for an artist, right?  But when I confront obstacles or when the terrain becomes difficult, I start to second-guess the road taken.

I wish to embrace my own plan “B.”  I wish to reconstruct my comfort zone.

Apparently, Abraham and Sarah did the same.  In spite of God’s promise that Abram’s descendants would become a “great nation,” Abraham and Sarah decided to play it safe. They’d help God out a little.

After all, they had waited a long time for the promise.  And God hadn’t given them any assurances for some time.  Sarah likely began second-guessing.

I get that.

Who can forget their Ishmael project? Or the disastrous results of that detour?

And Abraham and Sarah ran ahead of Abba. The hero of faith entertained doubt.  Like so many of us, he had his ups, downs and roundabouts.

I, too, get caught on the ‘go-round of fear and doubt.  As a result, I replay my errors again and again…”Same song, second verse…a little louder and a little worse.”

Abraham, however, gives me hope.  Abba gave him supreme grace.  Hebrews 11 does not list a one of Abraham’s failures.

Instead, we read of Abraham’s faith and obedience.

But one simply doesn’t say “no” to our Sovereign Savior.

 

By faith…

Abraham obeyed and went to Canaan.

He made his home in the promised land.

He trusted God’s promise of an heir.

By faith…

He entrusted his only son to Abba.

He believed God could raise Isaac from the dead.

By faith.

Yet, the Genesis account reveals that Abraham and Sarah wasted a lot of time and energy trying to figure the journey out for themselves.

Abraham faltered and connived.

Sarah schemed.

And Abraham sullied his pilgrimage.

Sarah even laughed when God promised a child… After all, at 90+, she knew was a bit old for that journey.

And as an alien in the land, Abraham frequently leaned on his own understanding.

Abraham and Sarah wasted a lot of time and energy trying to figure the journey out for themselves.

He may have blamed himself for being a “poor example” of faith.  Lot had observed Uncle Abram’s schemes.  And Lot had played it safe, choosing the financially secure path offered by living in the big city, Sodom.

It’s easy to self-condemn.

But Hebrews 11 tells another story.  Abba looks at His child with love and grace.  He honored Abraham’s faith.

“As far as the east is from the west, so far He removed our transgressions from us,” the Psalmist wrote, (Psalm 103:12).

Abraham’s failures met forgiveness by grace and through faith.

Of course, Abba always knows what awaits us around the next bend.  And He gently and graciously leads us to a deeper and deeper faith walk.

I doubt I’ll ever be a hero like Abraham or even Bilbo.

But I relate to Abraham’s journey.  I struggle at times with a journey to a yet unrealized promise.

God gently and graciously leads us to a deeper and deeper faith walk.

I’m thankful, though, that my omniscient, heavenly Father gives me enough light to make the next step.

Without a doubt, there are days when the journey seems too much for you and me.  Sometimes, the road sweeps us off our feet.

But Abraham’s life story brings this comfort:  God’s covenant with you and me never fails.   He never forgets His promises.  He remains our constant in a world of unpredictable.

Without a doubt, faith grows on the road.

“I am the LORD you God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go,” Isaiah 48:17b

 

Note:  Yes, I have returned to blogging…but on a more part-time basis than in the past.  I’m still traveling a lot…despite my frequent wish to return to my hobbit hole. And so, I will post and, more importantly, visit you–my wonderful friends–as often as I have opportunity.  I’m so grateful for you all!  And so, I will continue to send you “postcards” from my journey when I am able…Now, I’m off to conquer some “dragons” of my own. Ha!

134 Replies to “The Road Goes Ever On…”

  1. It is best to follow the Lord wherever he takes us, no matter how hard the road may be to travel on, at times. For, the best place to always be is in the center of God’s will, doing exactly what he has called us to do. And, he didn’t promise us it would be easy, either, or that we wouldn’t face obstacles along the way to challenge our faith.

    But, he did promise that he would be our help and support and that he would prepare the way before us, and he promised us that his good and his purposes would be fulfilled in and through our lives if we would just trust him and follow his lead.

    And, yes, it is a struggle sometimes to do what we know he has called us to do, especially when we get our eyes off him and on to the crashing waves all around us.

    But, we have to keep believing that he knows best and he has a plan and a purpose for it all, and that he has us exactly where he wants us, and that he is working it all out for our good and for his glory. And, then we just need to surrender it all to him.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Yes!! You are so right, dear Sue! It is difficult for me to not blog as before. But God has made it clear that He wants me to use my time differently. It’s hard to let go of what I know and feel comfortable doing to embrace a path with an unknown outcome…but as you say, there is no better place to be than in the center of God’s will… and so I step out in faith and begin this new journey in 2019. Thank you for sharing your tremendous wisdom and encouragement with me here today! It means the world to me! ❤ and hugs!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. God love ya Lynn, I see you still have the gift of being able to paint a home-spun story from a brief overview, filling in the blank spots with dabs of reality, so that the picture we see is ourselves. So glad to hear from you and sincerely appreciate the post card. Grace and blessings to you and yours my friend and God’s speed on your adventurous journey.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you with all my heart for your kind words and warm welcome, Bruce!! I’ve missed you! So nice to be back even if only on a part time basis. Praying for God’s direction for each step of this newest journey that He has called me to make! Thank you for encouraging me on my way. You are truly a wonderful brother in Christ! God bless you greatly, my amazing friend!!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Part time or not, it is good to see you blogging again.

    One thing about our journey. We have at least as much help as Abraham (or Bilbo) did. We know Abba is where we are going, Jesus is the Way, and the Holy Spirit is our Guide. That information is in our directions, the Bible.☺

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hi, Tom! Thank you; thank you! It’s good to be back! I’ve missed everyone even though I’ve been reading from the shadows. 🙂 And yes! So thankful that God has provided all that we need for life and godliness! And your comment here today especially resonates with me since I’ve been camped out in Psalm 119 as of late…His Word truly gives us the direction that we need. God bless you my wonderful friend! 🙂

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  4. Like the painting that attends this post: Does the road lead right to that cottage, as it appears? Or does it veer off into the mountains and beyond? Perhaps it takes a sudden bend beyond the trees. Mayhap there are dragons unseen.
    God is the Great Artist. He knows all the twists and turns, and will be our constant Companion and Guide.
    Lovely post. Thank you.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. So nice to hear from you. I think of you often when I come across a blogger who is just starting. Maybe they have less than ten followers. I click follow and I hope to encourage that person like you encouraged me. I was reading my journal from a year ago last December and I was thinking about quitting blogging. I had been blogging about six months and I am sure I had less than thirty followers. Nevertheless, I stayed with it. Now, it has been a year and a half and there are over three hundred. I had grown discouraged and was almost going to quit.
    Your kind encouraging words helped me stay at it. I hope that others are encouraging you in your new quest, that you are being lifted up when you want to quit or think you haven’t done enough and are not getting the feedback you would like. May God Richly Bless You as you follow the road less travelled!

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Oh, Valerie! You have no idea how much your beautiful and encouraging words lifted my heart and spirit today! Thank you; thank you! I’ve missed you, my friend! Congratulations on your extraordinary blogging success in the past year! God is using you and your writing in a mighty way!! Love and hugs to you! May God continue to bless you and bless you beyond all that you can imagine!! Huge hugs!! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Welcome back, Lynn (even if only part time)! I’ve missed you, my friend. I totally understand wanting to be in a cozy hobbit hole. I’ve missed my hobbit hole for years, and it’s likely I’ll never get to return. But as Tolkien also wrote, “Not all who wander are lost.” 😉

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Hello, dear Elihu!! Thank you so much! I’ve missed you, too! So nice to know I’m not the only one who would prefer to stay in my comfort zone. Yeah, God has given me new marching orders and I’m not about to argue 😉 Just looking for His daily direction on this new journey that He has called me to make. Love you, my talented friend! ❤

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    1. Hi, Steven! Thank you so much! It’s good to be back even if I’ll only post periodically. God has been leading me in a new direction with my art, and it is requiring a lot more time than in the past. I’m hoping that is just a short term time problem… but just taking it one step at a time right now. Hope you are well! Great to see you! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww… thank you, dearest Jules!! I don’t feel much like a trailblazer just now…I just trying to put one foot in front of the other 😉 I’ve missed you, and it is good to be back…even if only part-time. Love you! Huge hugs! ❤ ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  7. It’s good to have you back, even if your appearances will be less frequent than before. Abba has been teaching me a similar lesson. In a Bible study book I’m going through with friends, I read this morning: “Each [of these women] gave selflessly from her waning strength, some even tottering while teaching, but nevertheless teaching.” I’ve been tottering recently in my resolve to continue blogging, but a dear friend rebuked me and reminded me why I write: for God’s glory, and in obedience to His leading. God bless you, Lynn, as you face your dragons.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you; thank you, dearest Angela! You are always so encouraging. I’m happy to be back at least on a part-time basis. I’ve missed you and many of my other friends here. Unfortunately, it was God’s leading that I should reduce the time I spent on blogging. He’s made it clear that this is not where He wants me to be spending the lion’s share of my time. Yet, writing and blogging are my comfort zone. Sigh. And thus, this post. It seems I am to step out and pursue a number of art opportunities…and that scares this “hobbit-like” lady. I’d rather stay home. ;-D But I’m doing my best to take each step at a time…trusting even when I can’t see my destination. As my post indicated, I feel much like Abraham in this. But God is faithful, and I look forward to seeing what He has in store for me on this “journey.” Love and huge hugs!! ❤ ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I just finished taking down my outdoor wreaths last week… ooops… Ha! You are waay ahead of me! Loving all the wonderful table settings for Valentines that you have posted on your blog and Instagram! What an inspiration you continually are! ❤ and hugs!

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  8. I’m so grateful to have you back, Lynn! Even if it is an occasional “postcard.” 🙂 Your paintings and words always encourage and inspire me. I’m so glad you are following God’s leading, even though we don’t know what’s around the corner. But I also understand the doubts and fears. It’s so amazing that God meets our failures with His love and grace. He is so patient with us, isn’t He? I believe God wants me to be more vulnerable and authentic, not only in writing, but also in real life. I’m prone to scamper down the hobbit hole, too, instead of staying on the road and listening to God’s nudges. Love and blessings to you!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you so much, Jeff! As you can see, I’ve returned on rather a part-time basis… just barely treading water with my art business right now… so, it has been tough to keep up with blogging despite the fact that I really miss my daily readings of all my friends’ posts. Sigh… hopefully, I’ll soon find a way to balance it all. In the meantime, please know that I am reading even if I don’t comment as often. All the best to you and yours, my talented friend!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Lynn, it is all such a balancing act. You already know you can’t do it all, yet, I suspect you want to, maybe even feel a need to. (I feel like that a lot.) Do what your called to do, whatever it is, and enjoy yourself. You can’t go wrong that way. Please never feel obligated to comment, like or read. Lynn can only do what Lynn can do. Maybe a couple less balls in the air would make it easier for you to juggle….? Please forgive me if this comes across as nosy, out of line, or presumptuous. And all the best to you and your family, my talented sister in Christ!!!

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      2. Not at all, Jeff! You are my adopted “bro.” 😉 And yes, what you advice is exactly what I’m trying to do… So, thank you with all my heart!! It is wonderful to know that someone that I admire so much understands and advises me to do what I believe God has shown me to do. The counsel of wise friends is worth its weight in gold! Thank you, thank you! Quite honestly, I prayed a lot about it last autumn and through a series of events and Scripture, God made it clear that He wished for me to make my art my focus. I’d wrestled with it for a long time since for most of my life, writing has been my bread and butter. Thus, it was hard for me to imagine letting go of the “sure financial thing” to be a “starving artist.” 😉 But here I am… obeying my Father God. And thus, I am keeping up with my favorite bloggers by reading and then, commenting periodically…because well, my friends are always extremely important to me. So, there you have it… the “rest of the story.” 😉 Truly thankful for your friendship, Jeff! Your talent and extraordinary story-telling never fails to inspire me. 🙂

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      3. Thank you; thank you, Jeff! You are too good to me! I don’t know exactly what I dream of for the art…just that somehow God will be able to use it. But thank you for your kind blessing! You are truly a wonderful brother! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  9. This is one of my favorite posts!!! I love the way you tied in The Hobbit. The stories of JRR Tolkien have so much wisdom. I have been contemplating writing one about The Lord of the Rings- Return of the King. This was a very true and inspiring post. A lot to ponder and apply.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Wonderful messages and insight Lynn. You are a blessing to so many. No doubt God has many great things awaiting you and yes, even while limiting your posts. I’m glad you are seeking His direction and stepping out faithfully. It’s difficult for us all and sometimes we need to be reminded. Prayers for God’s blessings, protection, insight, encouragement and peace as you move forward toward the mark God has placed for you. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  11. – Lovely to see your name pop up!
    I’ve missed your blog posts, but it’s awesome to read about where your faith journey has taken you in recent months, and where you are now. Looking forward to further ‘postcards’ as and when you are led to write.
    – Remembering you in my prayers…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much, my wise friend! It is wonderful to hear from you! Obviously, I’m scrambling and have been off the radar for a couple of weeks… but extremely thankful for your understanding, prayers and friendship! You’re awesome!

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    1. Thank you so much, Mitch! As you can tell, I am certainly back part-time. Basically just treading water here… But God is carrying me in spite of myself. 😉 Thankful for your friendship, Mitch! May God bless you in 2019 beyond all that you can imagine, my wonderful friend! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  12. What a beautiful blessing to see your post, Lynn 🙂 ❤ ❤ I'm excited to hear more about your travels and where God is leading you, as well as what He has been teaching you, and putting on your heart. ❤ He is good even when times are hard. Praise the Lord, when it thunders He is with us in the rain, not behind the clouds.

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    1. Thank you; thank you, dear TR! I will have to wait a little bit before I can write about all that I’ve been up to… not sure how to tie all that into a painting 😉 But when I figure it out, I’ll make a post of it. 😀 It is soo wonderful to hear from you, my amazingly wise friend! I’ve truly missed dialoguing with you! Yes and yes again…thankful that He walks with us always!! ❤ ❤

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    1. You are so thoughtful, dear TR! I am incredibly honored that you should quote my words in your outstanding post! I truly look forward to this new series of yours. What a beautiful way to encourage your fellow bloggers! You are an inspiration, dear TR! ❤ ❤

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  13. Oh Lynn how I’ve missed your wonderful heartfelt writings. Welcome back and happy trails. I cannot wait to hear of your adventures when it’s time reveal them. I enjoyed this article, but clearly relate to the one of Moses and Joshua. Yes Abba has placed a call and a journey before me. I feel I am the least qualified for this task, but I will do it, and I will do it with my whole heart. Who would say no to Him? Certainly not I. I surely can relate to the toddler in the over sized shoes. I loved the picture of knowing He is walking with me and will catch me if I stumble while learning to grow into the shoes He has for me. I’m very, very glad you’re back.❤️❤️

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Laurette, my wonderful friend, thank you with all my heart for your kind and caring welcome back! It means the world to me! You are such a godly example to all who know you and God is truly blessing all that you do! I always gain so much encouragement and wisdom from your posts! It is so good to be back! Huge hugs!

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  14. How I love that quote from Tolkien! Reading your words, I felt joy in my spirit, sensing His presence on what you are sharing. So glad you are following His lead to make more space for your art! What a gift! 🙂 ❤

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  15. I so relate to your Hobbit Adventure ..the Journey there and back again…
    I thank God for your testimony of Faith and love of our Savior and LORD JESUS Christ.. …look forward to reading more blogs…..a new follower..but an elder in the Faith Walk..not a 90+ Sarai but 70+
    Betty…God Bless you

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    1. Hello, Betty! I’m delighted to meet you! Thank you for your kind words and I so look forward to getting to know you better! Do you have a blog as well? Regardless, I know we will be good friends! May God bless you greatly! 🙂 Hugs!

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  16. Lynn, I’m so glad I finally discovered your back! There’s been a big hole here waiting to be filled back up. I’ve just read through both of your teachings and feel “full”and well-cared for. Thank you for your delightful and deep insights and blessings. I can’t wait to hear more about your new journey! Oh my goodness I’ve missed you.

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