Saturday, June 27, 2009

Running Off Course?

You’re driving in traffic one day following the car in front like you do and next thing the most bizarre thing happens. That car in front starts gently veering from the roadway, and enters the emergency stopping lane without correcting… it even continues, further and further away from you. By this stage, the car is in the bush, has maintained its speed, and it and its driver look bound for disaster.

It’s at this point you wake up, in a lather of perspiration. It was only a dream after all.

But the dream is synonymous for straying from the right path in life. It is, after all, a salient biblical concept; there’s an ‘ancient path’ for us to stay upon (Jeremiah 6:16), and a crooked path for us to avoid.

It is said that ‘the path of upright is a level highway, but the way of the lazy is overgrown with thorns.’ (Proverbs 15:19 NRSV Modified) The same principle holds generally if we substitute the word ‘lazy’ with ‘greedy,’ ‘angry,’ or ‘envious’ etc. On the other hand, the paths of righteousness and justice are the way to life (Proverbs 8:20; 12:28).

It is unfortunately our human nature to run off course.

We do it all by ourselves and with no need of ‘help,’ though the wrong people and situations certainly can augment and hasten our ruin. As the bush that the veering car has to negotiate is full of hazards, so is a life run off the rails of God’s design for it--even for one day!

Watching the driver run off the road in your dream probably would make you cringe. To foresee the perilous end before it comes is harrowing. I recall seeing film of a man atop an electric train. What a horrible thought to brace yourself to view a person’s death, knowing what is about to happen.

And running off the designated path is the same thing; not physical death perhaps, but spiritual death, certainly. The beauty of spiritual death, however, is we can be resurrected any time we choose to turn back to the right path and back to God.

And the nature of life with God is just that. It is finding our way back onto the right path, and back into his favour, together with all of his good blessings for obediently, willingly following the One, the only living, Triune, God.

Copyright © 2009, S. J. Wickham. All Rights Reserved.

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