A Greater Joy

By Andy McQuitty

All of you who have been going through the Unstuck sermon series these weeks at IBC know that I’ve been comparing the Christian life with Ice Road Truckers, big-rig drivers who bring supplies across frozen lakes to work camps and remote towns. History Channel's docu-series about these intrepid long-haulers featured Darrell Ward as one of their star drivers over the past four seasons. His motto was "any road, any load", and he was a self-proclaimed "adrenaline junkie." Good thing because virtually every episode of the show involved Ward sliding off the ice road and getting stuck in an ice bank only to use some ingenious plan to get unstuck and back on the road.

Many of you sent me word last week of the untimely death of Darrell Ward in a plane crash Sunday. He was only 52.When his plane crashed, the reality star was headed back to Missoula, Montana, after meeting with fans at The Great American Truck Show right here in Dallas.

I believe life’s journey as a Christ-follower is similar to the life of an ice road trucker in that sometimes believers too slide off the icy road and get “stuck” in some snowbank of sin and guilt. That’s when we have to employ Biblical means to get unstuck. That’s when we have to Get Honest, Get Help, Get Real, Get Vulnerable, and Get Even (as our sermons have illustrated. We’d love for you to join us this week for our final sermon in the series.)

Darrell Ward’s death reminds me, however, that elation over getting unstuck is not the ultimate joy for Christian Ice Road Truckers. Getting unstuck is a great joy because it is a great spiritual victory. But great spiritual victories are not the absolute joy for Christ’s followers. What is? Hear Jesus answer in Luke 10:17-20:

The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, "Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!" And he said to them, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven."

For all Christ followers the day is coming when we no longer have to pilot the big rig over ice roads. The day is coming when we no longer have to deal with surely snowbanks and being stuck in the ditches of life.  The day is coming when we no longer have to get unstuck because we will never get stuck again in the first place.

In other words, the day is coming when the ice road is traversed and we’ve made safe haven forever. “Any road, any load” now becomes a New York Strip Steak in that great Truck Stop in the Sky (forgive me. . . I just couldn’t resist!).

I have a strong feeling that’s where Darrell Ward is, right now. His longtime friend and associate Chuck Campbell told FOX news he was "absolutely devastated with the loss of my friend. To know Darrell Ward is an honor and a privilege that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. We say good bye to an amazing man who made everyone around him feel special. Part of me died with him."  

Seems like that man knew Jesus. And if he did, his name was written in Heaven. And if it was, that’s where Darrell is right now. And if it is, I can’t tell you how encouraged I am as an Ice Road Trucker to know that someday we Christ-followers will experience a joy greater even than the spiritual victory of getting unstuck.

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