When I was about eleven years old, I was given a special task.
My older sister Becky handed me a small, black book. Most likely this is how my instructions were given:
“I need you to keep the bus mileage log,” she said. “Enter the city or town here, the starting mileage here, and the ending mileage here.”
And so, I did as I was told.
The odometer was not situated in front of the driver’s seat, like every other normal vehicle. No. It was a small round object attached to the hub of the right rear tire, where it mostly stayed level as the wheels turned.
I meticulously recorded our arrivals and departures. Every time we stopped to fill the tank with diesel, I trotted outside with my little black log. Sometimes I carried a small piece of paper instead and hurriedly dashed notes.
Come hell or high water, I was faithful.
If the weather was freezing, I bundled up and fulfilled my mission as quickly as possible, scrambling back to the heat. Those were the worst days.
If it was hot, I was there. Often we traveled through the night, and if we stopped for fuel, I roused from my stupor, stumbled around, scribbled.
I am not sure how many years I did this, but I know recording the mileage was my job for a long time. The job gave me an appreciation for recording notes and taught me to be consistent.
Some of those small towns stuck in my head for years. If we stayed at some random campground or church in the middle of nowhere, the name would come back to me. Where had I seen that name on a highway sign before? Oh, yes, it was the one I wrote down when I was half asleep that one night we got diesel ten years ago.
The other day I read Psalm 56:8. The first part of the verse struck me.
“Thou tellest my wanderings.”
Have you ever read a verse before, and the words stopped you in your tracks? That’s what happened to me as I read this verse.
The word “tell” has several meanings. It can mean to give a detailed account of; narrate. To make known; to disclose or reveal. My favorite is to name or number one by one.
Essentially, that’s what I was doing with those cities and towns and numbers. I was recording a diary of sorts, a log of our journeys back and forth, here and there.
This verse says that God had done the same thing with my wanderings. He is doing the same today. He is numbering the wanderings, one by one.
Often over the years, I have felt a bit lost in the wilderness. I remember days when it seemed like our family was just driving from one meeting to the next, going through the same motions, setting up the P.A. system, tearing down the P.A. system, recording another CD, smiling and singing the same song for the one hundredth time.
Even now, life can feel a bit like a wilderness. I wonder if I am making a difference, if my life counts for anything. But when I think of the little black mileage book, I can rest assured: every part of my journey has been recorded. Every step I have taken down the long, dark paths or the cheerful, sunlit trails. Not one path or trail or city or town has God forgotten.
Nor will He ever forget to record them. Not one.