The Green Hornet and The Ditch

The van was a forest-green Chevrolet. It was a one-ton vehicle with a suspension so rough and bouncy you had to stop at the dentist office every so often to get your teeth tightened up, and it had a 454 cubic inch engine that enabled that 1980 twelve-passenger van to pass everything on the road but a gas station. Whatever trailer was hooked behind that van was going to be pulled effortlessly down the highway. That van did not have style, but it had muscle and could easily pull 10,000 pounds of cargo.

So I took a 16’ cargo trailer and latched it on the trailer hitch of the Green-Machine and went after a load of hay for the church Fall Festival. The gentleman that loaded the hay on the trailer asked how I was going to off-load the trailer and I informed him that I had to do it myself. He said, “Well then, let me put the hay bales on the back-end of the trailer so you’ll have an easier time to unload them and won’t have to work so hard.” Being the Forrest Gump rocket-scientist that I am, I said, “Sounds good. Less steps, easier work, that’s a good thing.” So he loaded 5000 pounds of hay on the back of the trailer, easily within the weight limits of the trailer and van.

He placed all the hay on the back half of the trailer and off I went. I noticed that the view from the rearview mirror was of the skyline and not of the haywagon since the back end of the van was barely touching the ground, but…so what. The weight on the back of the trailer lifted the tongue of the trailer high in the air, which lifted the back wheels of the van in the air, which caused the back end of the van to be lifted in the air, but…so what. Yeah, so what.

So what happened was… around 50 miles an hour a phenomenon began. Looking out my side mirrors I saw the trailer fishtailing behind the van. As it lurched from side to side the van was being pushed around. I tapped the brakes and it made the situation worse because now the trailer was pushing the van from side to side with the weight at the back of the trailer being greater than the back of the van. Now it’s all I can do to keep from ending up in the ditch as I swerve all over the road, over-compensating in my steering, praying in a high-pitched, girlish voice, repenting for things I had not even done.

I came to a stop after a couple of thousand miles or so…and got out to see the problem. I looked at the same huge van with the more-than-enough-engine and the trailer with sufficient space and capacity; that wasn’t the problem. The culprit to my NASCAR weaving was an unbalanced load. I had too much weight in the wrong place. The van and trailer were well able to carry the load, but the improper loading almost created a catastrophe. Once I put the hay forward on the trailer where the load was shared by the trailer and the van, the rest of the trip was smooth and I was no longer stargazing from the rearview mirror.

The Lord promises not to put more on us than we can bear, but He lets us load the trailer. If you overload one part of your life more than the other, you are destined to lose control. It’s not the excessive weight that’s getting us; it’s improper loading. Read it carefully – even Jesus pushed back from the crowds occasionally. That means some sick folk stayed sick…at least till the Lord rearranged the trailer. If you are fishtailing through life, check the way you’ve arranged your cargo. You may not have too much weight on you, but you may be out of balance.

Here is how I know I am out of balance:

I get angry quickly.
The people I love the most get the worst of me.
Hard to remember the last time I personally worshipped.
Feel like a fireman running from one fire to another.
Can’t remember reading the Word unless it is sermon time.
I take three phone calls reading an article like this.
No longer hum or sing during the day.
Sigh deeply a lot.
I also know I am out of balance when I write blogs like this at 4 AM.

Stop the Green Hornet long enough to rearrange the load or get a good membership with AAA. You can spend a while on the side of the road rearranging your cargo or you can spend time in the ditch. He gives us the cargo, but we load the trailer.

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Comments (17)

  1. LOl. You might be bloggin’ @ 4 in the morning, but you lead a fantastic, spirit-filled service last evening!! Thank you so much!!!

  2. I’m not surprised you lived this story. I’m even less surprised you got a devotional thought from it. I love you, Daddy.

  3. ROFL I have my own trailer story. Mine passed me while I was driving along side of the interstate. No matter what the load carrying capacity is, you must be securely "hitched" !!! G8 blog

  4. What a blessing. Loading the trailer is sometimes a moment by moment battle. I am still learning that walking away from some things without resolving them is sometimes the best option for my long term strength, stability, and growth. Thanks for sharing your story and speaking into my life.

  5. From the eyes of a former trucker, what we think might make our future easier doesn’t always work well in our now. Pastor Brett, your tough early mornings….give all of us….better early mornings. Thank you.

  6. Believeit or not, just haveing the ability to turn such an adventure like that into a great lesson is partly what makes you a Great Pastor!

    You show great wisdom in your sermons.

  7. Pastor Brett, I sent this link to a friend of mine to read. It seemed to fit some of her life experiences that she is going through right now. What follows is her response to your blog.

    The problem as I see it wasn’t entirely Pastor Brett's faulty loading. He merely agreed with the way the other man loaded the trailer because he trusted his judgment about loading hay onto trailers.

    None of us “knows everything”, so we all rely on the intelligence and skill of others to compensate for our inadequacies in their area of expertise. Things happen that we have no control over (except as Christians, we’re supposed to believe that nothing happens to us that hasn’t already been filtered through God’s hands, which means that, yes, God gives us the load). When that happens on top of all our personal choices that keep us out of balance, then yes, at that point we need to stop, do some re-evaluating, and rearrange the cargo!