Saturday, August 11, 2012

U-turns

"There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death."
Proverbs 14:12 (KJV)


We were traveling 
and covering some brand-new-to-us territory.
We had our little trusty Mapquest maps that I had printed out before we left home....
all organized and stapled together...
lying on the front seat.
When we were driving to one of our destinations Sunday evening,
we saw another route that pointed to the same town we were trying to reach.
We were tempted to veer off, but decided to go ahead and follow the printed-out directions.
We made it there safe and in plenty of time.

Later that night, as we headed back to our hotel room,
we came across the other route again.
Again we were tempted, and this time, 
we decided to try it and see where we ended up.
We thought it might trim off some time and miles, 
so we turned off the proven path and took the untested one.

We drove and drove and drove,
and it seemed that it was taking us longer to get back 
than it did to get there.
We finally realized that our "short-cut" 
hadn't turned out to shorten our trip at all.
Worse yet, it didn't get us back to where we needed to be.
We had to turn around and figure out how to get back on the beaten path.
We soon found it and were relieved to be headed in the right direction once again.

It made me think of life.
Today's Scripture tells us there is a way that "seems right" to a man.
But, even though it seems right,
even though it appears to be the correct and true route,
the end of the path turns out to be dead wrong.

Jesus said in John 14:6,
"I am the way, the truth, and the life:
no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me."
It is impossible for us to reach Almighty God
through any other means.
Jesus Christ is the way.
Following Him,
walking in His footsteps,
keeping on the path He chose,
will absolutely, positively land us in Heaven some sweet day.

Isn't that where we all want to be?

The road Jesus chose is a narrow road.
It is a road of self-denial.
There are no short-cuts.

And all along the way,
there are many detours.
Many distractions.
Many pitfalls and hidden snares.
Their road signs beckon to us, promising they will lead us home....
and their path to home will be shorter than the road we're on.
That it won't take as long, and the road is more comfortable.
Their glitter and glamour beckons loudly that there is an easier way.
They look so attractive, so inviting, so much more exciting....
than the path on which we travel.

Sometimes, aren't we all tempted?
To lay down our cross?
To veer off...ever so slightly...
and just see what another path is like?

How many of us have dared to yield to that temptation?

How many of us have wandered...
how many of us have explored....
a way that "seems right",
only to find that we have ventured into forbidden territory...
that we are no longer sensing God's smile,
and things aren't going quite the way we were promised they would.


Aren't you glad God allows U-turns?

I am so glad we serve a merciful, loving, forgiving,
full-of-grace Heavenly Father
Who never takes His eye off of us.
Even when we become discouraged,
even when we forsake the narrow way and exchange it for the broad road,
even when we find ourselves completely out of His perfect will....
His love remains forever unchanged,
and His heart fills up with joy...
when He sees us....
making that U-turn.

As the broad, comfortable paths beckon to us...
so He calls and pleads for us to come back...
to Him and the right path.

He created a road map for each of us to use and have at our continual disposal.
It is called the Holy Bible.
All of the road signs are there...
 to lead us home...
to where He is.
If we stick right to the directions,
if we don't become enchanted with one of the "easier" paths,
if we don't take a detour or a "short-cut",
we will get there.
We will arrive safe and right on time.
And if any of us do happen to get side-tracked,
take a detour, or veer onto the "seem right" way,
the remedy and the way to turn around is right there...
in black and white instructions...
recorded in His Word.

Staying on the straight and narrow is not for the faint of heart.
Jesus had many a trial,
so will we.
The wonderful thing is....
that He walks the narrow path...
alongside us.
He promised He would never leave us nor forsake us...
that He would always be with us....
right to the very end.
Then He will welcome us into the home He has prepared for us,
and we will be with Him throughout eternity.

Isn't it worth it?
To stay on the right road?

There is danger lurking...
on the "seem-right" way.
One can become dizzy and disoriented...
surrounded by all of the excitement the broad road has to offer.

Sadly, some who have given in and taken the "easier" route
have found that it really was more comfortable,
they have relaxed to enjoy the ease,
and have never wanted to come back to the old, rugged way of the cross.
Alas, at the end of the road, they were met with the stark realization
that the alternate route didn't lead home at all.
That they were at the complete opposite end of where they wanted and intended to be.

Are you on the wrong path?
Has the lure of the greener grass caught your eye and persuaded you
that maybe there is a better way?
Do you find that the route you're on is leading you in the wrong direction?
Has the alternate path turned out to be less than you expected or were promised it would be?

My friend, you can make a U-turn....
from anywhere....
at any point.
Right now.
You can turn around.
It doesn't matter how long you've traveled the wrong road,
or how much ground you've covered.
The distance between you and God is never too far.

The way back is always the same.
The U-turn always consists of crossing a bridge....
the one Jesus built with a cross and three nails.
If you come to Him,
you will automatically be turned around
and pointed in the right direction.

He is the way.
From this point, let Him take your hand
and lead you safely home.



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