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As far as you can see

September 6, 2010

I grew up in a tiny West-Texas town named Andrews. It sprang up around the oil fields in the 20s and 30s. This is a typical road out there… straight as an arrow and almost nothing to obstruct your view.

My Dad worked in the oil field most of his adult years, until “retiring” for the last season of his life out here with us in Tennessee. Of all the equipment needed for work in the oil field, none was more important than a pickup, and my Dad always drove one. It was in one of those pickups, on one of those West-Texas roads that he taught me to drive, and I think I was only 14 or 15 the first time he displayed the courage to put me behind the wheel

As I suppose we are all prone to do, my first attempt at driving was a classic example of overcorrecting. Every time that old truck would start to veer to the right or left, I’d jerk the wheel back in the other direction making for something less like a road trip, and more like an amusement park ride.

There wasn’t a lot of instruction during that session, but what I got lasted a lifetime. Dad said  “you’re looking at the road just in front of the truck. Focus your eyes at the end of the road… as far as you can see”. The truck began to straighten out a little.

Turns out this instruction was as good for life as it was for driving.

Of course, we see through a glass darkly, and there are many times on our journeys when all we know to do… all we can do, is the thing that’s right in front of us. God grows our faith by giving us grace to trust him for what’s beyond as we try to obediently walk just one step at a time.

But then there are other times when this sort of living can begin to feel like an amusement park ride. We take a step and get jerked back in to the other lane leaving us to wonder if we’re even moving in the right direction.

Maybe that is the day, the week, the season when we try to remind ourselves of what is at the end for those who are called according to His purpose. No death, no tears, no mourning, crying or sickness or pain. No economic meltdowns, high unemployment rates, terrorism, substance abuse, sex trafficking or corruption. But a new heaven and a new earth, where God Himself will be with us and  He will dwell among us. (Rev. 21). Keeping a focus toward the eternal can often help the temporal to straighten out a little.

Sometimes the most encouraging, hopeful thing you can do is to look all the way to the end… as far as you can see.

12 Comments leave one →
  1. LauraP permalink
    September 6, 2010 12:53 PM

    Thank you for this. It spoke to me today.

  2. John Mays permalink
    September 6, 2010 2:29 PM

    I’m glad Laura. Thanks for leaving the comment.

  3. September 6, 2010 9:17 PM

    I must echo Laura’s comment. Thank you for posting.

    I have found drive-time to be a place of reflection and revelation. The road holds many valuable lessons… especially when the never-ending horizon is restricted to near-zero visibility. Those are the moments where unconditional trust comes most natural, when no amount of experience can counteract the situation.

    I need to remember those moments when ‘one step at a time’ feels like forever… when the open road offers endless possibilities… and when my desire to overcorrect poses more danger than the terrain.

    Thanks again.

    • John Mays permalink
      September 7, 2010 8:51 AM

      Hey Gina-

      Your comment is better than my blog! Let’s post IT sometime!

      Thanks so much.

  4. September 7, 2010 9:33 AM

    GREAT blog John!
    Hope you keep blogging! I’d love to read more!
    Blessings to ya and great to see you blogging.

    Leah Martensen

    • John Mays permalink
      September 7, 2010 10:15 AM

      Hey Leah-

      Thanks a bunch. You can click my name over in the right column and see other blogs I’ve done. Also some great stuff from our other team members.


  5. September 7, 2010 12:29 PM

    I really really REALLY needed this today. I’m glad I followed the link Centricity put on their twitter update. I’m an independent musician. And that phrase alone doesn’t need any further explanation on how exhausting and discouraging things can get when in the music industry as an indie. haha. Today has been a full day of trying to fight off the lies. God definitely used words you wrote and Scriptures you referenced to snap me back into the right perspective. the eternal perspective.

    Thanks for being a faithful servant.

  6. John Mays permalink
    September 7, 2010 6:43 PM

    Hey Natalie-

    I’m so encouraged by your comment. Thanks for taking the time to leave it. I know (actually do know!) how motionless the life of an indie artist can feel. I hope the blog brings you a little drink of water in what can seem like such an endless desert.

    Stay encouraged. Keep moving. Your past is forgiven, your future secure. What could be more glorious?!


  7. September 7, 2010 9:41 PM

    Love my long, straight west Texas roads! I love it when my life road seems straight and there are no sudden twists and turns. However, I sometimes put it on auto pilot and then miss the scenery along the way. I am so glad that God has the big picture and knows what is ahead in my road. Thanks, Uncle John, for helping me reflect today on God’s total control of my life.

    • John Mays permalink
      September 8, 2010 8:21 AM

      Hey Sheri-

      Yes… the dreaded “auto pilot”. I don’t want to live in that zone either. Thanks for the comment and for the reminder. See you in Dec.!

  8. Lisa permalink
    September 7, 2010 10:00 PM

    enjoyed reading your thoughts and just remembering your wonderful Dad-

    The last few days, I’ve taken up a new personal mantra, “it will all turn out okay in the end” and I can say it confidently because maybe not today, next week or even in my lifetime but– in the end–the true end– like you remind us– there is truth, love, justice, peace and everything right–as our souls know it should be… thanks for the reminder…

    miss you and your family–I’ll be heading your way mid Oct. woohoo!

    • John Mays permalink
      September 8, 2010 8:32 AM

      Hey Lisa-

      That’s funny… my church has adopted a slogan (there are bumper stickers all around town). IGBOK. Meaning, “it’s gonna be OK”.

      There’s even a website at! Maybe you can find some continued encouragement there in living out your new personal mantra!


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