Spring has arrived, rebirth is real. A short while ago when all was brown and dead looking, spring seemed a distant dream. February went out like a roaring lion, pounding parts of several states with a massive blizzard. Travel was not advised, in fact, several major freeways and highways were closed for days on end.
In the aftermath of the destructive storm there was no shortage of photos and videos of stranded, abandoned and wrecked vehicles. Cars, trucks and tractor trailers were left in the ditches, on the roadway, along the roadside. Some drivers must have felt the words travel not advised did not include them. Others may have had no other option but to drive into the storm and although they may have been driving cautiously ended up stranded, injured or wrecked due to their own or another driver’s loss of control and/or recklessness. Other unknown drivers may have made it safely to their destination through the vicious storm.
Adulthood has arrived. As a youth it seemed a distant dream. In my early days I was given clear warnings about the storms in life which I would encounter and when and where travel was not advised. Looking in the rear-view mirror, it appears as though when it comes to this business of living, we are either entering a storm, in the middle of a storm or just exiting a storm. There were times I chose to travel where not advised ending up abandoned, stranded or wrecked. Sometimes I was in collision with others. Still other times I made it safely through only by the grace of God. Why on earth did I ever think the boundaries for human behavior don’t apply to me? When did doing the wrong thing become the right thing? When did my thinking become so distorted that I believed evil was good? Perhaps I was listening to the wrong voices and like a herd bound sheep I blindly, yet of my own free will, drove into the storm despite having been properly warned. I would be lying or badly deceived if I thought I was not guilty of leading others down the broad road that leads to destruction and despair. That is a hard, but honest thought.
It was, and still is a mistake to ignore the warnings in God’s moral code. But I must say, most often it happens slowly, over time. I fell prey to the idea the pleasure of forbidden fruit is fine dining. Here’s the thing about pleasure, the right kind I pay for ahead of time, the wrong kind I pay for afterwards and usually is something I need to hide from others. There are obvious things I avoided, as the story goes you throw a frog in a pan of boiling water and he will leap out to save himself. I have never murdered anyone in cold blood. Other things were less obvious, like the abortion I had.
The broad road where travel is not advised is death by inches through justification. And I am not just talking about physical death here, I am referring to the death of innocence, joy, trust, relationships, dreams, and hope. Willfully ignoring God’s boundaries is a pernicious poison which slowly eats one alive from the inside out making me, what Jesus called, a whitewashed tomb. Pretty on the outside, dead on the inside. Taking the road often traveled is like putting a frog in a pan of cool water and turning the burner on low, and as the water heats imperceptibly he even won’t notice it slowly cooking him to death.
The painful truth is anything I do that I feel I must hide from others I should not be doing. The price tag is just too high! Here are just a few of the roads where travel isn’t advised: Gossip, which is malicious conversation about someone who is not there to defend themselves; drunkenness or drug stupefaction – I make bad enough decisions on my own, why on earth would I need help? Uncontrolled bursts of anger, nagging, bitterness, unforgiveness, grudges, resentment, being right at all costs, lust, gluttony, greed, selfishness and self-centeredness to name just a few. These can be and frequently are gateway choices that lead to worse decisions on down the line. We see the results of this all around us each and every day.
All my life there has been a tension in my heart, to do what I ought to do (good) and the temptation to do what I ought not to do (evil). Literally, an angel on one shoulder, a devil on the other. The battle between good and evil is real and some days the battle (storm) is fierce, so intense we can’t see right in front of us. King Solomon said, “Tear down a wall and you will get bit by a snake. “
Sin (there is a conversation killing word) is just as real as the law of gravity. Jumping out of an airplane without a parachute will kill me make no mistake. Just as driving through life without minding the boundaries of an unchanging, absolute moral framework given by a loving God will kill our souls. Boundaries and love go hand in hand, they are inseparable whether you are talking about loving parents or a loving God. Where there is no discipline there can be no real love, and freedom without boundaries ends in chaos and despair. Boundaries caution us not to go where travel is not advised, obedience to what cannot be enforced is imprinted on our hearts and is always the best option. But it’s not the easy or popular option. In fact, it usually is very uncomfortable for us and others.
The good news is spring has arrived, rebirth is real. No matter how far down the broken road we have traveled. No matter how battered and beaten and bloodied we have become in this life. The lover of our soul, Jesus Christ, who does his best work in storms, waits patiently for us to return, to let him rescue us.
Do you know him? Is he your first line of defense or your last resort? Or is he nothing at all to you? Is he not just the Savior of your life, but the Lord (Boss) of it too?
The ground is level at the foot of the cross and door of the empty tomb. We a have a loving, living Great Physician ready to dive in and pull us out of the wreckage and bandage our wounds. Jesus Christ stands ready to give us a better guidance system to stay out of life’s blizzards. To help us to choose not to travel, where travel is not advised. And to guide us safely home sweet home.
Now that is a reason to:
Be joy filled always,
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