“I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; From where shall my help come? My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth.…” Psalm 121:1-2
The winding road of death. That is what I called the road our car’s GPS led us to as we made our way to a hotel in the mountains of Virginia. Our GPS settings are apparently stuck on finding the shortest route possible, regardless of the fact that the shortest route takes you on a severe winding road up a mountain. To make matters worse, the road had recently been plowed from heavy snow which made it basically a one lane road. Oh, and it was dark, and it was icy. Awesome!
We had made a last minute decision to leave a day early because freezing rain was forecasted to start early the day we were supposed to leave. However, as we began to make our way up the winding road of death, I started to question our decision: “Is this trip worth it?”
I was terrified; although I tried to hide it from my kids. My husband was doing a great job navigating the sharp turns and avoiding the icy patches. I was grateful for the darkness, because at least I couldn’t see over the side of the road (which by the way, had no guardrails!)
As we were slowly making our way up and down, and back and forth, I began paying attention to how my husband was driving; but for once, not in a passenger-seat driver kind of way. At that moment, all I wanted was to SEE God with us and to know that He was there (although, part of me was convinced we would all be seeing Him face to face at any moment!).
As I sat in the car, I began to see not just the crazy road in front of me, but I began to see the road as a metaphor for life.
How many twists and turns do we have to take in this life? How many struggles to get uphill? How many dangerous things do we have to avoid? And how many times have things seemed to get out of control and required us to put on the brakes?
The road of life is often dangerous and hard to navigate, but we are not meant to travel the road alone!
When we had to make a sharp uphill turn, we had to accelerate quickly to make it up the incline. The times we must go uphill in life (times when we must make a life change, deal with a difficult diagnosis, endure intense emotional pain) we should accelerate quickly to God’s Word. We need to cling to Him and ask Him for the strength to move ahead in His power.
When we had to make a sharp downhill turn, we had to slow way down and shift into a lower gear. There will be times when we are faced with downhill life moments, times when things could very easily get out of control. These can be good moments, like the birth of a child, a life season change, getting something you have waited for a long time for. They could also be difficult things like the death of a loved one, depression, loss of a job. During these “downhill” moments the only way to avoid careening out of control is to slow way down. Stop and breathe in God’s Word. We can’t try to act as if everything is just the same. We need to shift gears, only do what absolutely has to get done and allow God to hold us in His arms. We must allow ourselves time to acclimate to the new situation we find ourselves in. Downhill times require us to hold fast to God and trust His strength to hold us firm.
Avoiding icy patches required a close eye on the road and anticipation of what was ahead. Sin can so easily run us off the road. Sin is good at hiding and blending in. Some sins are easy to spot and therefore more easily avoided, but other sins are like black ice; you don’t notice it until you have driven right onto it. Sins like bitterness, envy, resentment, fear, gossip, selfishness, a judgmental attitude are so easy to run into and cause us to run right off the road. We can deal with “icy” patches by staying in God’s Word so we more easily recognize sin, asking the Holy Spirit to keep our hearts soft to His conviction, confessing our sin quickly and repenting. When we keep our eyes and hearts fixed on God, the icy patches will not be able to keep us from following the road set before us.
The darkness kept our eyes focused straight ahead, where our headlights could light our way. We could not see anything that was not right in front of us. This world is darkness. God is light. As we make our way along our life road, let us keep our eyes straight ahead asking God to light our way, and then following Him.
We did eventually make it off the winding road of death. The road straightened out, my heart rate slowed down and we had a truly wonderful trip! The road was hard, but we were not alone and it led us to a glorious time.
May we all rest in the knowledge that we are not alone on the road of life. Sure, it will get hard and be difficult at times, but God is always with us. And at the end of the road, He is waiting for His children with open arms. For the believer, the end of the road is just the beginning of the unimaginable beauty and glory of eternity with our King! The destination will definitely be worth the ride!
(The verse I quoted at the beginning of the post is from a Psalm that my precious Grandmother read everyday of her adult life. She trusted God along the road of her life, and was then welcomed into the arms of her Savior as He met her at her heavenly destination. I am so thankful for her life, her love and her legacy.)