The Road of Life

It seems as if there is road construction on every street and road in the county. I don’t know why. It most likely has something to do with the whole COVID thing. Half the time you are directed to drive in what is normally the wrong lane. I’ve driven my whole life in Ithaca and sometimes I get turned around trying to make my way through the construction maze. I wonder if all the crews know what else is going on the next street over or, if at some point, you will encounter a dead end with no way to turn except circling around and around. But then again, I should be used to construction since I myself am always under construction. A project that will never be completed.
But as I have sat in my car waiting for the sign to twirl from STOP to SLOW, practicing patience, I started thinking. Proverbs 16:17 The highway of the upright avoids evil; those who guard their ways preserve their lives. Yes, indeed.
This is the advice I give my children and grandchildren. Especially when they are teenagers. Don’t go where trouble lurks. Just don’t go there. Don’t go to those places. Don’t hang with the people who make poor choices. Don’t get in a car with strangers. The wise person, the upright, don’t put themselves in harm’s way. It is like playing Russian roulette. Sooner or later, you will get the bullet.
Traveling the highway of life is fraught with danger. When the warning signs appear, obey them. If the sign says that the bridge is dangerous to cross over, go another way. If the weatherman says to stay indoors and not drive, then don’t drive that day.
Turn around. Don’t drown. You’ve heard this wise warning. Put on the brakes and do a U-Turn on the road of life.  Turning around can be difficult and painful. I mean let’s face it, when you have to turn around there is usually only one good reason. You have realized you’re going in the wrong direction for one reason or another. This is exactly what happened to a man named Saul.
Acts 9 Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”
 “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked. “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone. Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So, they led him by the hand into Damascus.  For three days, he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything.
In Damascus, there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, “Ananias!” “Yes, Lord,” he answered. The Lord told him, “Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. In a vision, he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight.”
“Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your holy people in Jerusalem. And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.” But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.”
Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”  Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, and after taking some food, he regained his strength.
Saul spent several days with the disciples in Damascus. At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God. All those who heard him were astonished and asked, “Isn’t he the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on this name? And hasn’t he come here to take them as prisoners to the chief priests?” Yet Saul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Messiah.
Saul did a U-Turn on the Road of Life.
One day, my husband Dave and I were coming home after visiting my Aunt and Uncle in Pennsylvania. Dave was driving. Just below Van Etten, there was a lot of potholes on the shoulder of the road, some of which came onto the edge of the road. After we hit a couple of potholes, I said to my husband, please, (I might not have said please.), don’t hit any more potholes. I told him if he kept hitting the potholes we were going to have a blowout. He ignored me. The very next pothole took out the right front tire. Upon inspection, the spare was flat as well.
We’ve all experienced potholes on the Road of Life that either slow us down, delay our trip or sometimes totally disrupt it. In our case, it took us hours to get home. We had to drive a short distance slowly on the shoulder, stop to let the flat tire cool down so we didn’t have a fire, and then limp along another short distance. There were no repair shops open along the way. We drove home the entire way like that. It was a long, unpleasant trip.
Potholes teach us to watch for danger and stay alert along the Road of Life. We need to slow down and be patient and make sure we are prepared for the potholes of life by spending time reading His word and praying.
In an essay written by George Orwell, he recalls eating a peanut butter and jam sandwich out on his deck. A fly landed on the sandwich and began sucking on the jam. At that moment, George cut the fly in half, but the fly kept on eating the jam and as Orwell put it – “a tiny stream of jam trickled out of his severed esophagus.” Only when it attempted to fly away did it realize the gravity of the situation. Many people have much in common with this fly. Severed from their souls, but greedy and unaware, people continue to consume life’s sweetness. Only when it’s time to fly away will they gasp their dreadful situation.
Do you ever get the sense that your life out of control? Are you like the fly, attempting to eat the jam of this life and unaware of your situation? Unaware that the paths of your life are crooked, muddy, potholed, full of forks in the road and one-ways that you find yourself going the wrong way on?
The Word of God is just filled with warnings about the dangers on the Road of Life we choose to follow. Read the Bible often. If you need one, let me know. Take everything to God in prayer. Listen to that still small voice for an answer to your questions and requests.
There’s a Road of Life that can look harmless enough to follow but look and be careful. There is a right road to follow and a wrong road to follow. Follow the right road and it will lead to joy, peace, and eternal life and fellowship with God. Follow the wrong path and it leads to destruction.
Matthew 7:13-14 “You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose the easy way. But the gateway to life is small, and the road is narrow, and only a few ever find it.
Proverbs 3 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. When we walk with the Lord 
in the light of his word, 
what a glory he sheds on our way! 
While we do his good will, 
he abides with us still, 
and with all who will trust and obey. 
4 Then in fellowship sweet 
we will sit at his feet, 
or we’ll walk by his side in the way; 
what he says we will do, 
where he sends we will go; 
never fear, only trust and obey.
Trust and obey, for there’s no other way 
to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

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