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Off-Road Dump Trucks

by Marlene Houk

Burke Countymarlene houk


The pleasant afternoon erupted with cries of surprise and pain as my four-year-old son wobbled to his feet and stumbled to my comfy chair in the shade. His copper-colored hair glinted in the sunlight as he neared me, crocodile tears flowing down his chubby cheeks. He intended to show me his scraped knee with its crumbs of dirt and reddened skin. But, when he was just twelve inches short of arriving, a strange expression flitted across his face. He stopped, abruptly turned, and, without further ado, returned to his miniature off-road dump truck and its load of dirt.

Twenty-seven years later, I still smile at this tiny memory of parenting, but I’m amazed at its spiritual parallel in today’s confused and wounded world. My son’s intense immersion in his fascination with all things construction distracted him from his pain. He forsook a band-aid, a kiss from mom, and perhaps even a popsicle to return to his first love: his trucks.

I’ve often followed his lead when I fell and hurt myself on this world’s sharp edges. As my heart cried tears of genuine and justified hurt, I ran to the typical first-aid stations of life such as lamenting my pain to friends. That is a good choice if the friend is wise and experienced in God’s ways. But, ultimately, I realized that being immersed in my relationship with Jesus and fascinated by all things Christian, I could be distracted from the crumbs of the world’s dirt embedded in my wounded soul and return to a fascination with the Lover of my soul: my Redeemer and Friend, Jesus. marlene houk dump truck

I enter His Presence, and the world’s hurts fade as I hear Him; the King of kings singing over me! (Zephaniah 3:17) And I feel comforted and close to Him when I realize how much He thinks about me as shown by Psalm 139:17-18 which says, “How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.”

The Gospel enfolds me and draws me into praise for my Redeemer. The stories He tells in His Word rebalance my perspectives and the companionship we share refreshes, my weary grief-filled soul.

When we become so immersed in seeing Jesus face to face, in talking with him every day, in concentrating on our relationship and His Word, we can often be distracted from our hurt. The more serious the hurt, the longer it may take, but, eventually, tiny wisps of time with the one Who “hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows” (Isaiah 53:4) can bring hope and healing.

Underneath our grief flows the current of the Holy Spirit’s comfort; the hope of future joy, others’ prayers for us, and the healing passage of time.

My four-year-old taught me how to operate a spiritual off-road dump truck to haul off the negative emotions from life’s storms on that long-ago sunlit moment in his play. Try following this biblical map to help you offload the world’s hurts.

Meditate on Scripture

Articulate and define your experience, setting it apart from yourself

Pray Psalm 51:10

Sing a praise song

Let me know how it goes. Drop a note through my Facebook page,, or email me through my website, Happy trails!


Marlene is an author and teacher of Bible studies. She may be reached at

You can read more from Marlene HERE.