Wednesday, October 12, 2011

What's a Rambler without reverse?

Twice in my life, I owned Ramblers—a vehicle choice I’m sure determined more by economics than style. One, an old Nash Rambler, (immortalized by the Playmates’ song, “Beep Beep”), got me where I needed to go, much to the dismay of every fresh-air, environmentally conscious jogger on the winding hills outside San Francisco.

As long as it was going at a constant speed, it was fine, but when I stepped on the accelerator to climb up through the narrow Redwood canyons, it belched billows of black smoke. Whenever I saw a jogger ahead, I’d start apologizing, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry” and duck my head as the black cloud closed in around him thicker than the morning fog.

But it was the other Rambler that demonstrated a point I would discover, forget, and cling to again and again—reverse is a necessary direction. Sometimes you have to go backward to go forward.

One day that Rambler lost its ability to back up. I was poor and single at the time and decided to live with just going forward as long as I could. It wasn’t impossible as long as I remembered to never park face-in at a curb. Some days I’d drive all around town trying to find a spot where I could park and drive straight out. But one morning, my mind distracted with thoughts of spring, I pulled into a space nose-to-nose with the parking meter and turned off the key. My reaction appropriately reflected my pre-Christ state.

A Rambler without reverse was a very limited one indeed.

Sometimes we find ourselves in situations that make us feel as though we’ve gone backward, but can’t go forward. Loss often triggers this perspective. Loss of job, loss of savings, loss of loved ones, loss of identity, and worst of all—loss of hope.

My husband and I are just now coming out from a two-year darkness brought on by a bad decision we made. It cost us a lot. And although we had been following the Lord for many years, there were many days in the pit of depression, when we thought the Lord had shelved us—that the glory of Lord had departed the temple as it so tragically did with the Israelites.

Now, we are slowly beginning to see some buds of fruit from that stripping. We are beginning to understand that the Lord couldn’t put new wine in old skins, and that sometimes you have to go backward in order to go forward.

Of course the ultimate example of this is Christ’s death. What looked like the end of everyone’s hope, three days later, proved to be the supreme triumph, as up from the grave He arose!

I pray if someone reading this is stuck in reverse, the Lord will give you a personal word of hope, a buoy to cling to until you have a reversal of fortune.

 As Paul exhorted the terrified sailors about to be shipwrecked:
“Keep up your courage, men, for I believe God, that it will turn our exactly as I have been told”—Acts 27:25


  1. Thank you Marcia. I needed this tonight

  2. Marcia, you have such a gift of making your words materialize as pictures before our mind's eye. I so enjoy that.

  3. Ah, God has been sending me lots of encouragement through my friends this evening in regards to a huge development coming up in my life tomorrow. The Agony and the Ecstasy will be revealed by tomorrow evening. I can relate to your time of darkness. I am glad there is light in yours. God is telling me there will be in mine too. Bless you for this post. And, I owned a mustard yellow Nash. Hated it, but it did get me from point A to point B, but it did have reverse!

  4. Excellent analogy. God is always at work.

  5. Thought-provoking, Marcia. I've never thought about it in those terms. A temporary reversal can give you a different perspective, and sometimes a better view of where you need to go.


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