The Many Roads Taken

by | Feb 13, 2021 | Submission

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you. Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding, which must be curbed with bit and bridle, or it will not stay near you.” (Psalm 32:8-9 ESV)

“The plane’s rubber band broke,” quipped a soldier from across the aisle, pulling a cap over his eyes.

“I’ve taken this flight for three weeks now,” grumbled an executive engaged in corporate shuttle diplomacy. “It has yet to be on time once.”

“That’s nothing,” remarked a collegiate type on board. “I’ve been taking this flight for three years. In my mind, the advertisements couldn’t be further from the truth. There seems like a snafu every time I take it.”

Delayed plans. Frustration, anger, impatience. Some plans though, hold more importance than others. For instance, where are you headed in your life? When do expect to arrive? Will you know when you get there?

An old spiritual song yearns, “O Lord, I want to be a Christian in my heart … O Lord, I want to be more loving in my heart … O Lord, I want to be like Jesus in my heart.” These internal qualities comprise more of the ideals God has set up for us than do the externals we sometimes consider the priority issues of our lives.

Sooner or later, as believers in Jesus, we’ll be all that God intends for us to be. We have His promise on that (see 1 John 3:2). But we often frustrate His work in our lives. We put off becoming more like Jesus, doing it later rather than sooner. Arriving at external destinations labeled “marriage,” “graduation,” “career,” we expend a huge amount of our time and effort.

The first few verses of Deuteronomy describe a spectacular example of a people caught up in just this kind of dilemma. The journey though the wilderness that they were making can be accomplished in about a week and a half. They pulled it off it in a record-breaking 40 years!

But then, their journey wasn’t exactly normal. God’s people then (and now) learn slowly. They resisted the Holy Spirit’s efforts every step of the way. They had their own ideas about their destination and the best plan for getting there. They wanted land, peace, prosperity—rather than a relationship with God and the responsibility of living for Him.

When and where do you expect to arrive? Maybe a change in pilots would be in order. Maybe Jesus needs to be Lord as well as Savior in our lives. Wouldn’t it be great if we could arrive at God’s destination for our lives directly, rather than via the “scenic” route?

Prayer: Heavenly Father, please forgive us for our endless distractions and for not paying attention to the direction You give our lives. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

From The Lutheran Layman, May 1978 issue, “The Scenic Route” by Jane Fryar

Reflection Questions:

1. Do you know people who take way longer to get something done than they should?
2. Can you think of anyone or any group of people in the Bible who acted like a stubborn horse or mule, without understanding?
3. What gets in your way of becoming more like Jesus?


The Many Roads Taken