The road near our farm is closed temporarily at the railroad crossing and I am glad, because they needed to close and repair it, the crossing was terrible. It is necessary to make a better way going forward. The signs went up early this morning including a sign two miles north at the detour turnoff.
And guess what? No great surprise, cars, tractor trailers and other various vehicles continue to drive up to where the road is closed at tracks, slow down and turn around. Which is fascinating, since the road was clearly designated closed a few miles back up the way. I find it particularly intriguing because I have done this very thing myself, and not so long ago. A friend and I were taking a drive trip to a local Amish country store. Several miles from our destination the road was closed due to a bridge repair. I took the road immediately to the right complaining the detour wasn’t marked. In fact, I lamented loudly about it. Whined is another word describing what I did the entire time, “Why didn’t they mark the road closed by the freeway?” and blah, blah, blah ad nauseam. Finally, I turned around and drove back to the original exit by the freeway, only to discover there was a sign that said, “Road closed 5 miles ahead.”
Of course there was. It was only because I was so busy yapping with my friend and NOT paying attention, that: I. Had. Missed. It.
And then there are the times that I just know better, Right? And stinking thinking or just flat out denial takes over and I deceive myself into believing, “ Perhaps they are ‘just kidding!’” Right. Eye roll. So I drive up just to make sure. I am not making this up. Sometimes, I am: Just. That. Stupid. I don’t know any other honest way to say it. And, I am ashamed to say, in both instances, my first reaction is annoyance and my second is to blame someone, anyone, other than the true source of the problem. Which. Is. Me.
Roads are closed and signs are posted to warn us in advance for many reasons. To keep us from driving off a cliff. To point us in a better direction. Because there is perhaps danger ahead or something new and better happening like construction. Unfortunately, we often fail to heed the warnings.
Gee this sounds familiar.
Lets see, which road closed signs have I ignored or denied in life? Here’s the short list: Obedience to and respect for parents, those in authority and to the Word of God. I have been disrespectful and unkind to others; dishonest – taken things that weren’t mine to take in whatever form that manifested itself; I was sexually promiscuous before marriage. People pleaser. Prideful. Made poor health choices. Yada, yada, yada. Blatantly disregarding the solid ground of objective truth that would take me a better way; or simply oblivious because I was distracted and mesmerized, heeding the shifting sands of the culture around me. Sometimes knowing in my head I should make better choices or other choices. And. Just. Not. Doing it. It’s always the same three things that trip you and me and everyone else up. The lust of the flesh. The lust of the eyes and pride of life. Every time. And I know God closes certain roads because he loves us and he is just, because they are terrible options. Sometimes closure is necessary in order to make a better way going forward.
And of course we complain (whine) the entire time that the road should have been better marked farther up the line. It was. Our first response is to blame everyone else, including God, because we were distracted or because we deliberately chose to ignore the signs. And our stinking thinking or just flat out denial takes over and we think, “ Perhaps God was ‘just kidding!’” Right. Eye roll. And there it is. The crux of the problem. We think we know better than God.
What’s a body to do? First of all stop blaming God and others for the situation(s) we find ourselves in. We are only fooling ourselves if we think we weren’t warned five miles back up the road. Second, turn back around to God. Jesus is watching and waiting for our return. And he loves and forgives us if we admit our mistakes. He then invites us to follow and walk with him on a different road by: accepting his forgiveness and grace and letting God be God. Making amends to others we have hurt and offer forgiveness to those who have hurt us. Next, we stay connected to him at the hip through prayer, study of his Word (truth) and fellowshipping with others on the same right road, also known as the church. Finally, in order to stay on the right road and keep what we were so freely given, we must give it away by carrying the message to others .
Then and only then will we find ourselves on the right road that leads to life! No longer on the closed road that leads to death.
And that my dear friends, is a reason to be joy filled always,