Driving to Copper Harbor, the peak point of the Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, is a commitment. It is 50 miles or so from any amenities other than a few cabins, small motels, a café, and a few small gift shops that serve great ice cream and fudge.
Most all who travel there ultimately say it was worth the trip. The long winding road through mysteriously thick forest intrigues and the steady cadence of water splashing upon the shore mesmerizes visitors.
However, it’s not a place where you want to have car trouble – even if you are handy and have the right tools; it’s just not some place you want to be stuck. Just a few days ago, there we were at Copper Harbor with car trouble, cold weather, rain, gift shops closing, night falling in five hours, and . . . I am not handy nor did I have the necessary tools.
Amazingly, a mechanic with his tow truck had driven to the small village, on call, but he could not find the woman who had called for help. The assistant pastor of the local Lutheran church stopped to help. Calls were made, we tracked down the tow truck, and the mechanic promised to come and help. Thankfully, after several hours he arrived.
We had exhausted all our resources for “killing time” and for staying warm so went into the nearby motel to see if we could wait it out in their lobby. There was no lobby, but the motel proprietor, Mary, graciously allowed us to stay in her small, cramped office space. Mary then proceeded to tell us she had some chores to do elsewhere and asked my wife, Micki, if she would “run” the motel in her absence. This was Micki’s first time to run a motel, but she took on the task with her good nature and sense of humor. I think we were relieved that only one family showed up, and Micki sent them to find Mary.
There is much more to our story, of course. But we were deeply appreciative of the good folks in the Upper Peninsula, Yoopers, who helped us get back on the road. Joe the mechanic used some extreme ability to get things re-wired, and we made it home.
The couple hours I spent in conversation with my new preacher friend is the inspiration for this article. As willing as we both were to fix the car and get it moving, neither of us had the answer or technical ability to make it happen. We needed a mechanic in much the same way as the spiritual condition of our present world needs the truth.
“One can go to church long after the doctrinal passion has dried up and real conviction has ceased to continue, which leaves a moral and intellectual emptiness”
The pastor and I quickly agreed that Christians need to hold on to the Word of God as the absolute truth. Churches can and often do degenerate into a social family, or denominationalism. Common to our era is the danger of falling away from doctrinal conviction, and without passion for doctrine, everything becomes empty. This state creates a vacuum to which false doctrines rush in and fill. The Pentecostal Acts 2:38 message is the answer – standing in the cold rain wishing for an alternate solution is foolishness. We have no choice but to yield to truth.
Before Joe arrived, my new pastor friend and I were doing everything we could to repair the problem. We pulled wires, cleaned up the cables and connections, all to no avail. None of our efforts, however sincere or well intentioned, solved the problem. We were merely applying ignorance to the problem — no real experience, knowledge or expertise. In reality we were in a dangerous situation. We had fallen into despair, and we were ready for someone to step into our situation.
Thankfully, ol’ Joe the mechanic found us. He graciously pushed us aside and tore into the problem with confidence, knowledge and experience. He kept saying, “It’s okay! I can fix it. Don’t worry! I’ll getcha going, and I will follow you back to the city.” Reflecting upon the situation, Joe, the man who saved us, was a man with confidence in what he knew – he had truth. We had rushed to the problem, cited the condition, but we came to the situation with no real solution, because we lacked truth. Remember, it’s possible that churches may dry up and lose passion and confidence for the doctrine – consider then what answer will we have to bring to the problems of today’s world.
“Mercy unto you, and peace, and love, be multiplied. Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ” (Jude 1:2-4).