I recently finished the book “The Only Road North” by Erik Mirandette. Just a little disclaimer before I start; I’ll probably be giving away some pretty pertinent information about the book but I’ll try to be vague enough as not to totally ruin it for anyone who may read said book.
“The Only Road North” is a real life story told by the author of trip he, his brother, and two friends took, traveling south to north through Africa on dirt bikes. It’s a story of finding faith, purpose and of finding God in places most people don’t dare to go. I wouldn’t necessarily say this was the best book I ever read but it raised some very interesting questions for me, questions I’ve never really thought much about. Also as I was reading I found myself racing to the end to see how the journey and the outcome would effect the men involved. And once I did reach the end, I was rocked.
Ultimately for me two questions came up and just to be clear this is coming from a Christian perspective. The first is “how does God work and why?” and the second, which is more specific is “what is the relationship between our time on earth right now and our time in eternity after we’re gone?” How will what we do and what we experience here on earth effect our lives in heaven? Before I get too ahead of myself let me give a quote from the book that really blew my mind. The quote is “Do you think God kept you alive yesterday just so you could experience his majesty today?” Even without any context, isn’t that an intense question?
Picture this, at this point in the story you have Erik, and Alex who are brothers and their friend Kris. They’ve traveled on dirt bikes from South Africa to the Democratic Republic of Congo which from what I read, traveling through Africa on a dirt bike is probably one of the most dangerous things you can do. These men could have easily died at any point in any number of ways. But clearly God protected them. During one particular incident Alex hits a van head on going 30 miles per hour while riding a dirt bike. Needless to say, he should have died, but he walked away only a little banged up. The very next day the three men climb to the top of a volcano and experience God’s glory and majesty in a very profound way. They are mostly speechless except for a brief moment when Kris asks Alex, “Do you think God kept you alive yesterday just so you could experience his majesty today?”
If Alex had died in the head on collision would his life in heaven have be different having not experienced God in such a beautiful way on the volcano. This question becomes even more intriguing once you get to the end of the book, but I decided I’m not going to give away the end.
Besides just posing some interesting questions this book also challenged me. There is a strong theme of purpose in the book. We have a purpose in this life, a life that is very short. Maybe we’ll live to be 80, 90 or 100 years but afterward we have eternity. One hundred years is nothing compared to eternity but there is a connection between the two. I’m not exactly sure what that connection is but it’s made me see how important how we live our lives is. The four men in the book wanted to experience a life of purpose, a life worth living. To do so they chose to follow God into the unknown and God rocked their world big time. Ultimately that leads to another big question, “Am I ready and willing to follow God with out question?” And why not? The worst that’s going to happen is I’m going to die… right?
There are so many rabbit trails I could go on and I’m not even sure if I communicated what I was thinking. Either way I enjoy being challenged and this is something I think I’m going to continue the think about and write about for that matter. There are other related topics I’ve been thinking about as well so maybe I’ll try to tie them all together at some point.