I enjoy car rides. I used to love long drives alone because I would reach a point inevitably where my thoughts came to an end and I was able to hear God speak. The long drive was also a way to process all that had been happening in my life and my clients’ lives, so that I could move forward or gain the insight to help them move forward. There have been times in my life where I drove over 3,000 miles a month on a consistent basis. For the past year, I have not enjoyed the driving part, it makes me tired; but I love the times I can just ride.
My husband and I were on a recent drive through the mountains. When we started our trip it was already night so there was nothing for me to see. Mountain roads rarely have street lights. On our return trip, it was daylight and I really enjoyed taking in the sights. I love looking out the window into the distance. The panoramic of the desert, mountains, and communities. Every now and then, I would turn my attention to what was in front of us or what was on my husband’s side. There were a few times along the drive where the mountain around us caused the road to take deep bends with a limited view of what was to come.
There would often be signs along the road, “watch for falling rock” or a caution sign with a picture of a wild horse, a deer or and elk. I admit while I was praying to see some of these animals. I was also praying we would see them before the Jeep hit them. I saw a lot of rocks that had fallen on the edge of the road. Towards dusk, I got the opportunity to see a few elk and a deer. The elk stood at the side of the road without moving, the deer turned back.
My breath was often taken away with the beauty of what was to come as we rounded the bend in the road. It was like the bend had to be there to prepare me for the beauty that was before me. Other times, we would round the bend and my heart would drop as I realized just how high up we were. The bend also altered the view from behind. There was only so much that could be seen from the rear view mirror, or even from completely turning myself around in the passenger seat.
I thought about how this is true in life too. I have never happened upon disaster that there were not at least some warning signs of what was to come. I remember an illustrated sermon once called “Road blocks to Destruction.” The pastor walked through 10 things people go through that God uses to try to keep them from Hell. It might be that still small voice, but God will do what is necessary to warn us. A few examples that come to mind :
In Numbers 22 God spoke to Balaam and told him not to go with Balak to curse the Israelites. They came to him more than once, and eventually he decided to go. His used a donkey and an angel to try to deter him. Eventually, God used a donkey to speak to Balaam.
In Genesis 19:1-26 God sent two angels to warn Lot about the destruction of Sodom. Lot told his son-in-laws but they didn’t listen. The angels took them by the hands and guided Lot, his wife and daughters out. They told him where to go, but Lot wanted something else. His wife did not follow the instructions, it cost her life.
In Acts 27, Paul warned those he was traveling with to wait for the journey, but they listened to the captain of the ship instead. In the midst of the storm, an angel came to him with direction for safety and when they listened, all lives were saved.
Even Jesus warned the disciples of His death, the type of death and His resurrection: “As Jesus was about to go up to Jerusalem, He took the twelve disciples aside by themselves, and on the way He said to them, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem; and the Son of Man will be delivered to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn Him to death, and will hand Him over to the Gentiles to mock and scourge and crucify Him, and on the third day He will be raised up.”” Matthew 20:17-19
God will give us signs and warnings of what is to come if we will heed His voice. It may not come as we want it, but if we listen He will warn us when the path we are taking leads to destruction. He puts the bend in the road to give us time to prepare.
I also realize sometimes God hides the road in front of us because we’re not ready for the view. It might be that the narrow path between the mountain walls helps me to appreciate the beauty of what is to come. There have been times in my life when I took for granted the blessings that God has given me. When my view was narrowed, I was able to appreciate what came next in addition to what I already have been given.
Other times, it may be that the scenic views in the distance are distracting me from the danger that is ahead. Just like the signs tried to get my attention, warning of what was ahead, sometimes I need to focus because of what is about to come. Sometimes we would round the bend only to see a sharp climb ahead or a huge drop off on our side. At times I need my focus on the here and now so my world is not rocked when the obstacle ahead of me comes.
I remember a few years ago I had a dream that I needed to quit my job. It was a discussion with my pastor in the dream and ai was explaining to him all the reasons I couldn’t just quit. In a meeting, some of my coworkers warned me about a wolf in sheep’s clothing. They did not come out with the details just warned me about trusting her. By the end of the year, she had my job.
I definitely was not prepared, to me it came out of no where. I was not ready for it, but within a few days was able to see how I was being prepared for it. God knew I needed that time to get ready. He gave me warnings and time before it happened. I think if I hadn’t had that time, I would have went into destruction mode as I defended myself against the words that were said about me.
When we come to the bend in the road, it is important that we take time to consider why it is there. Are there warning signs that tell us we need to be on the lookout for things that could cause danger? Is it there to help us appreciate what is to come? Or is it there to give us time to prepare for the struggle that lies ahead. Regardless of the reason for the bend in the road, God goes before us. He walks with us. He is our rear guard.