Here in Northwest New Jersey the roads wind through hills, with trees lining the way. The driver has a fairly limited forward visibility, curves hidden, deer very likely to suddenly appear straight ahead just as the car reaches the crest of the next hill. In Northwest Iowa, where I was born, roadways are laid out in neat grids, as if on a tabletop. You can see an approaching vehicle when it is a long way down the road. What a difference in perspective.
Traveling the road of life is much more like negotiating the roadways of NJ than those of Iowa! We cannot see the next curve, have no idea what will happen at the next intersection, and may be surprised by things that appear seemingly out of nowhere! Sometimes I think I would like to be able to see further down the road and at others I am quite thankful that I only have to deal with today’s challenges. How about you?
Our choice, today and each day, is this: will I trust the Lord to lead and make appropriate choices for the road I am traveling? Christian, we know our destination but the way between here and there remains hidden in the mind of God. The Word teaches us that He is leading us along a road that serves His purposes and we are invited to walk with Him faithfully. Paul took the Gospel across the Roman Empire and along the way encountered one curve, one hill, one surprise after another! It must have been enough to make him wonder if he had chosen the wrong route, if he had wandered out of the will of the Father.
After being jailed on trumped up charges yet again, Paul wrote these amazing words of faith to the church in the city of Philippi. “Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. … The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help given by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance.” (Philippians 1:18-19, NIV)
The road was bumpy, the way forward hidden from view, yet Paul says “I rejoice!” His faith allowed him to see what was obscured by time – that God was working His purposes. That particular imprisonment in Rome allowed Paul to preach to the elite young men Caesar’s imperial guard and encouraged greater boldness among the Christians in Rome. The apostle disregarded the personal cost, choosing to focus on the Kingdom potential that was created in that situation. At the same time, he had no reason to doubt that ultimately he, too, would know God’s deliverance.
Are you on a road where things are difficult in the moment? Is the future hidden, traveling where, to all appearances you have taken a detour onto a road without an end? If you are walking in obedience, seeking His guidance, you have the assurance that though you cannot see the way ahead from where you are, He does.
Perhaps it is time to soak your understanding in the amazing faith declaration of the first chapter of the letter to the Ephesians. We are not accidents. We are called, known in the mind of God before we even exist, people of destiny in His purposes. We are not weak, victims of the vicissitudes of life. We are filled with the life of Jesus, that same power that led Him to the Cross, through the Tomb, and to Resurrection Life! In the middle of that mind-blowing chapter, Paul writes this: I pray that He will “make you intelligent and discerning in knowing him personally, your eyes focused and clear, so that you can see exactly what it is he is calling you to do, grasp the immensity of this glorious way of life he has for his followers.” (Eph 1:17-18, The Message)
Maybe you need to slow down? Perhaps you need to pull over and take some time to listen to the Holy Spirit, who like our divine GPS? Then, trust Him, and let Him lead you – all the way Home.
Here is a word for the road today –
“How well God must like you—
you don’t hang out at Sin Saloon,
you don’t slink along Dead-End Road,
you don’t go to Smart-Mouth College.
Instead you thrill to God’s Word,
you chew on Scripture day and night.” (Psalm 1:1-2, The Message)
“God charts the road you take.
The road they take is Skid Row.” (Psalm 1:6, The Message)
Staring at the stop sign,
Watching people drive by,
T-Mac on the radio.
Got so much on your mind,
Nothing’s really going right,
Looking for a ray of hope.
Whatever it is you
may be going through
I know He’s not gonna let
it get the best of you.
You’re an overcomer!
Stay in the fight ’til the final round.
You’re not going under
‘Cause God is holding you right now.
You might be down for a moment,
Feeling like it’s hopeless,
That’s when He reminds You.
That you’re an overcomer,
You’re an overcomer!
Everybody’s been down,
Hit the bottom, hit the ground.
Oh you’re not alone.
Just take a breath, don’t forget;
Hang on to His promises,
He wants You to know.
The same Man, the Great I Am,
The One who overcame death,
He’s living inside of You.
So just hold tight, fix your eyes
On the One who holds your life.
There’s nothing He can’t do,
He’s telling you.
So don’t quit,
don’t give in,
you’re an overcomer.
Ben Glover | Chris Stevens | David Garcia © D Soul Music (Admin. by Brentwood-Benson Music Publishing, Inc.)
Universal Music – Brentwood Benson Publishing (Admin. by Brentwood-Benson Music Publishing, Inc.)
9t One Songs (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing) CCLI License # 810055