“A man who walks by the side of the road can turn himself around…he can pick himself up and dust himself off, and start all over again…” (Kenny Rogers).
Ok, so October was a month full of issues for me and my computer was not to be left out of that series of events. I’ve been a bit absent because, though my fingers have been aching to hit the keys, my computer apparently was not missing the pounding my fingers gave said keys and refused to cooperate! (Note: I began writing this before I wrote my post-election post, but am just now publishing…sorry). Hopefully, it is better now and soon, perhaps, I can take it into the computer doctor for a check-up! Until then, I will just have to plug away as she allows and hope for the best (and get a hand cramp using old fashioned pen and paper should the worst occur)!
ANYWAYS, so ya, October was rough. I had some issues accepting the turn of events because our hearts are being led one way while our brains were told something else. SO alas, we wait for God…for His righteous right hand to guide us and lead us in His time, not ours. Patience is a Fruit of the Spirit that we (collectively…yes all of us) rarely produce.
So let’s talk about roads. Amazing things can happen on roads. I love songs and poems about roads! There is David Lee Murphy who sings about coming back down the road you leave behind you, there is one of my all-time favorite country duos, Brooks and Dunn, who sing about all that can be learned on a red dirt road, and we can’t forget Frost who speaks of the road less traveled and how it can make all the difference. Roads are significant in our culture and have been since…oh, well, probably since roads were first made.
Roads signify change, moving forward, the future, and even trust. One of the most significant roads in history is the Road to Damascus and the story of [P]Saul on that road. If you aren’t familiar, I am going to paraphrase the story in my own words, but you can find the story in your Bible in Acts chapter 9.
So, Saul is really this pretty mean guy who persecutes Christians to the fullest extent of the law (and probably beyond)…we are talking beating them, imprisoning them, and even killing them. He was rough. One day Saul was walking along nearing Damascus and searching for Christians and disciples to take as prisoners when a light blinded him and he heard a voice asking why he was persecuting “me” (that’s Jesus). Saul was like “I don’t know you” and Jesus is like, “well, you are persecuting me, now go to the city and you will be given more instructions”. Now, Saul wasn’t alone but the other guys with him were obviously rendered speechless, I mean, what do you say when the presence of the actual living God is before you, right!?
So Saul goes into the town, he was blinded by the way and didn’t eat or drink during this time, so he goes into town (being led by those guys I spoke of earlier) and meets Ananias whom the Lord had already spoken to. God told Ananias that this guy from Tarsus was coming and that it was Saul and that He gave Saul a vision to see and speak to Ananias to get his sight back. Now, Ananias has heard of Saul…what do you think he said. He’s like, “Lord, please, this guy is bad news and I don’t want to die” but the Lord is like “This is my work, so just do it and quit being afraid because I am God. This guy is going to have his heart changed and is going to end up suffering for me. Don’t argue”
So, of course Ananias does what he is told, because who really says “no” to God, right? He heals Saul and sees Saul get filled with the Holy Spirit…then Saul got baptized and ate and drank and got strong again so he could do God’s work now. Ok, so remember, Saul is a Roman citizen turned Christian…he is now gonna be in BIG trouble with the Romans! BUT, guess what else, the Jews (of which he has now left) got mad at him and tried to kill him because he was spreading the Word of God around Damascus and proving that Jesus was the Christ. So, Saul escapes and gets to Jerusalem but the disciples are afraid of him until Barnabas takes him in. Barnabas tells the disciples to chill out because Saul is good people and how the Jews in Damascus tried to kill him for preaching about Jesus. So, thus we have the story of Saul’s road to Damascus; the road that not only changed his life, but the lives of thousands of others and the course of history.
So you see, roads can be pretty important, whether they are asphalt and literal or ideas and figurative. So friends, there is something good about roads whether they are literal or figurative; they go two ways. Now, I know streets can be one way, but technically you can walk or drive either way if you choose, right? So, roads can run two ways, they can have forks, four way stops, roundabouts, on ramps, and yield signs too. My great and deep thought-provoking question for this post is, how do we determine whether to continue forward, merge, turn, or go back? I mean, God isn’t going to physically meet us on the road as he did for Paul and blind us for three days until we get it right. Of course, Paul (or Saul, same guy) didn’t have the entire Bible then as we do now either.
So we took this road recently, and there is this road block. We know what we feel God is telling us to do, we just can’t figure out how to get there or how to get a clear picture of where He is sending us or what exactly He is telling us to do. It’s so…well, to be quite honest, it’s frustrating! I mean, do you think Paul was frustrated just a little, maybe, over the three days that he was blinded? He had NO IDEA where he was going, what he was doing, he had to fully rely on a few guys to get him where they said he was going AND he had to rely on a God he didn’t even know before he was blinded to guide these guys who were not believers to the place God was sending them. Did you catch all that…I know it was a run on, but I would have said it that way, so I typed it that way (in my mind I stress certain points and they go on and on…I wish you could hear me speak sometimes LOL!). This guy had to blindly follow God. And apparently, so do we sometimes (well, many times, actually).
Have you ever really done that, friends? I mean really. Have you ever just closed your eyes and said “ok God, send me on Your way”. Well, we did that and there is a road block. Now we don’t know if we were supposed to turn somewhere or take a different on ramp or if we are simply supposed to be yielding (that is waiting our turn). What I do know is that we have made a commitment to follow Him, so that is what we will do.
Roads can be scary. Sometimes it is a dark mountain road and you’re driving in the late hours in the rain and take an off ramp by accident (that’s for you MMG) and sometimes the sun is shining bright and your way is completely uninhibited. There are no obstructions, just a clear and simple path to take. There are potholes and bridges that are really scary and construction. No matter what happens, though, there is a way.
The Word is quite clear and these verses give me much hope in this time of confusion:
“Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’” (Isaiah 30:20-21 NIV).
This voice is the Spirit. We will let Him guide us. We will listen to His instructions, though right now they seem muted. Just because we went down the road and hit a block, doesn’t mean it isn’t our path. Just because OUR plans changed doesn’t mean He changed HIS plans. Roads run TWO ways, our way, and His way. Find His way; when you are blinded, pray and be patient and find His way. That’s my wise advice, now I have to take it;).