"...wander off the road..."
"If you wander off the road to the right or the left, you will hear his voice behind you saying,
Here is the road. Follow it." (Isaiah 30:21)
I guess there's no question why they call this Grandview National Park. We stopped at the overlook last week while we were visiting the park with some friends to see the show, Hatfields and McCoys. Looking at the photo you'll see the railroad track that runs by the river. I couldn't help but notice what a circuitous route the train has to follow, traveling way down the valley and around the mountain just to get back to a spot not that far as the crow flies from where it began. While we were there we watched a freight train work its way along the tracks by the river's edge.
I don't know about you, but if I were traveling through the valley I'd probably be tempted to look for the shortcut. Why wander all the way around the river path if I could just cut straight up the side of the mountain and down the other side. It's definitely the shorter route (or so it seems). Think of the time I'd save! Somehow I suspect I'd regret that choice somewhere just shy of the top of that steep, rugged, densely tree and scrub-packed mountain.
Sometimes wandering off the road is fun and even exciting. Patti and I have been doing a lot of wandering in our new location. Driving down a road we'll make a turn and say, "Let's see where this street will take us." It's been a good way to get to know our new community. However, wandering off the road is not always such a good idea. Our impatience, stubbornness, or pride can cause us to veer off the road of healthy living that God has established. We give into thoughts like, "I know myself better than anyone else. I'll do it my way." We give into those thoughts and sometimes find our selves halfway up that mountain beginning to realize maybe we shouldn't have veered off the road. Maybe someone else, maybe God, really did know the better way even if the road was longer or more circuitous than we would have chosen. Faith requires that we follow, sometimes even when we would rather chose our own road over the mountain. Faith requires we remember that God really does know the way, even when we are convinced we know a better road.
"If you wander off the road to the right or the left, you will hear his voice behind you saying, Here is the road. Follow it." The prophet Isaiah reminds us that God has a road for us to follow, and even if we're halfway up that mountain we insisted on climbing instead of following God's road, listen, and we can hear God's voice leading us back.
I pray that God will help me resist the temptation to veer off the road and listen for the Holy Spirit to guide me back when I do. How about you?
Blessings and Peace,
Pastor, Cross Lanes United Methodist Church
Cross Lanes, WV
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"...wander off the road..."