Lately I’ve taken up the habit of early morning drives out enjoying the beautiful countryside where we live. While the rest of the household is soundly sleeping, I grab the keys, my camera and head out to the winding country roads. I play worship songs, sing at the top of my lungs (since there are no complaining teenage boys in the car) and have long conversations with my Heavenly Father.
I try to be good, to watch for the signs along the way, to do what they say…………however one beautiful morning I decided that the sign that suggested that I slow way, way down to say, 20 M.P.H. because of a sharp curve just ahead, must be an exaggeration. The road ahead didn’t look like it curved that sharply. I was a seasoned (well seasoned) driver and I could surely handle whatever lie ahead on my own terms. Besides, don’t a lot of these signs exaggerate how slow one really needs to go when approaching impending, said, curve? Aren’t some of them silly, frivolous, and optional to obey?
So, yes, I took my foot off the accelerator. And, no, I didn’t apply it to the brake. Well, at least not until I was fully engaged in “said curve” and realized the prior admonition was NOT a gross exaggeration. I went up on two wheels and almost off the side of the road….I pulled to a stop. Heart pounding, my first response was, “Why in the world would they make a road with a bend like that out here in the middle of nowhere!” It couldn’t have possibly been my fault for not heeding the warning of the ones who knew the road and marked the way!
I laughed out loud when I realized how incredibly ridiculous I was being! And then, I heard the Father speak to me, “Road signs that warn and instruct you aren’t the only ones you ignore, my child.”
Road signs are simply symbols that provide instructions; some instructions are optional; some instructions are mandatory. Try telling the nice police officer that you weren’t “feeling” like the speed limit was 25 M.P.H, it “felt” more like a 55 M.P.H. place and see where that gets you! Obligatory or instructional, signs road signs serve an important purpost. Their purpose is to make the roads a safe place for drivers, pedestrians, and cattle (if you live in our neck of the woods). They are there to assist us in arriving to our destinations safely.
We believe what the signs say (usually) and we know if we don’t obey the instructions that there is a cost, a penalty. Sure, we might complain a bit, but that’s the way it is. We seem to understand, although at times they may seem frivolous or inconvenient, these signs are there for our safety and the safety of those we love. We somehow trust in the lawmakers who place these road signs to know what is needed out there on the highways and byways to keep things in order. We know that when we drive we can’t lead with our feelings, (especially if they tell us that the curve sign is just an exaggeration) because there will be a cost.
Yet somehow we don’t translate this to our spiritual lives. God’s Word is full with instructions (signs, if you will) that implore us, warn us, admonish us, and encourage us. Still we often take them as mere suggestions that are for obeying and following if we feel like it. We get upset with Him when we disobey those (signs) instructions and we argue that the consequences are so unfair. Yet God, our perfect Father in Heaven, knows us; knows what we need; how we should operate to maximize the lives we live here on earth. His love is available freely to all through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ, on the cross. The ultimate sign of His love for us.
Still many are offended that He should say there is only one way to Him. We don’t feel like Jesus should be the only way. “Who would have decided that there’s only one way to God. That’s ridiculous!” we shout. Much the way I felt when I decided to take that early morning curve on my terms. What is so unfair? The opportunity is there for all; for “Whosoever”.
“For God so loved the world that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved” John 3:16-17
Still many of us want God on our terms. We want Him to fit into our ideologies, but what kind of God would that be? Would we truly want to give our allegiance, to lay our wills and lives down at the altar of a god who could be fashioned into whatever we irrational human beings could make of Him? Would that seem more “fair”? A god open to suggestions as to how he should act and operate?
We have a God who is full of mercy, justice, grace, and love. His love for us knows no limits and his instructions for our lives are always for our good. He has created us with a free will. We can accept or refuse His love. He has laid out two options.
” I call heaven and earth today as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the LORD your God, that you may obey His voice, that you many cling to Him…” Deuteronomy 30:19-20
And like that sign pictured above (where I turned right to head home and……yep, should have gone left….) we are given a choice. We are not forced to go one way or the other, we have options and with those options come blessing or cursing; rewards or consequences. Not all roads lead home (as I found out that early morning!) Out of His great love for us and His wisdom, He implores us to choose His way, the way of LIFE!