It was a little more than 30 years ago when I was driving from Nashville to Raleigh in my old car. We had just accepted the call to pastor the struggling campus church, and because our house wouldn’t sell in North Carolina, Denise and the kids stayed behind. After a few weeks at my new church, I decided to head back to check on the family.
We were broke, had taken a pay cut, the car needed repairs on the way, and it was hot. I was miserable and tense, worried and anxious. On that drive, I strangled the steering wheel and gritted my teeth.
Soon I came to the Great Smoky Mountains. The Smoky Mountains are a special place for me because it was our family vacation spot when I was a child. Denise and I honeymooned there, and then spent many breaks there with our young daughters.
And as I began to drive into this special place, I noticed something.