As we were driving to a soccer tournament over the weekend, my husband and I witnessed a (sort of) significant milestone for our family minivan—we reached 100,000 miles. The lucky moment came while he was driving, so I filmed the clicking over from five-digits to six on the odometer for the sake of posterity.
In the more than five years we’ve been driving this particular vehicle, we’ve averaged somewhere around 50 miles a day. For people with a long commute to work, that may not seem like a lot, but it does make me stop and wonder if the destination has been worth the all of those miles.
There was once a servant who was given the task to take a long journey to find a wife for his master’s son. He traveled 500 miles (by camel, not Honda Odyssey), and when he got to the appointed place, the servant stopped for a drink of water at a well. He prayed, “Help me to accomplish the purpose of my journey. I will ask one of these young women for a drink and if she says, ‘Yes! And I will happily water your camels too!’ let her be the one. That is how I will know.”
Sure enough, a beautiful woman came by and graciously did just what he had prayed for. As she set about giving him a drink along with his camel, the servant watched closely without speaking, resolved to verify that God had made his journey a success. The servant returned with the woman to her home and retold the story of the well encounter to her family. They consented to putting her in the care of this servant, but they asked if she could stay at home for a week or so before heading off to get hitched to marry a man they were related to but had never met.
Though this seems like a reasonable request, the servant was already itching to get back on the road. He told them, “Please don’t stop me from going! Now that I know this mission has been a success, I have to get back to tell my master what’s happened.” (To read the full account of the Isaac/Rebekah family drama, start at Genesis 24 and grab the popcorn. Dallas has nothing on these ancient Bible families!)
At the end of a long road trip, the last thing I want to do is get back on my camel (or Honda Odyssey). I’m a little surprised by the servant’s response. Knowing the value placed on hospitality in ancient times, this might’ve seemed rude. I sense an anxiety in his words and actions, as if he was overwhelmed with the initial task of finding the perfect wife for his master’s favorite son. He repeats Abraham’s instructions several times, like I do when I’m walking to a different room so I won’t forget why I’m going there. (Put the towels in the dryer. Put the towels in the dryer.) He so much wants this journey to be a success, and he can’t wait to get back to prove that all those miles (and camels and gifts of jewelry and clothing) were worth it.
When I think back on the 100,000 miles we’ve put on our minivan, I think of trips to visit grandparents and trips to the beach and college tour visits and lots of soccer practice. I think of quiet conversations with my kids when I get them one-on-one, and I think of God’s hand in keeping us safe. And most of all, I think of that blessed feeling of relief when I pull into the garage and I am home.