I was born in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada. Approximately fifteen miles south-east of Sarnia is a smaller town called Petrolia. In 1858, a road was constructed connecting these two locations. The land was flat and the road was straight, so it was decided to construct the road with wooden planks.
For young boys growing up in Sarnia, it was like a rite of passage when we were old enough to be allowed to ride our bicycles on the Plank Road from Sarnia to Petrolia and return.
My boyhood chum, Don Lunney, and I often talked about the day when we would be allowed to ride the Plank Road.
I remember well the day that our parents decided that we were responsible enough to make the trip all the way to Petrolia and back.
We were very excited, and with our lunches packed and strapped to our backs, we set out early one bright summer day on our exciting adventure.
As we drove on the straight planks, mile after mile, we started to fool around, as boys sometimes do. Eventually, we fell off the roadway. Since the planks were reasonably thick, we hurt our knees when we tumbled onto the gravel beside them. Even though the injuries were not serious, our legs still hurt as we climbed back on our bikes to continue our journey.
After that, we certainly took great care to do what we should have been doing.
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14 NIV)
Jesus also said, “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life. No one can go to the Father except by Me.” (John 14:6 NLV) The Word of God gives us directions for staying on the Way through righteous living. That day on the plank road, I learned three spiritual lessons that have stayed with me these many years.
Firstly, the edge of the road is clearly defined and the road is narrow, not broad enough to allow for wilful wandering or fooling around.
Secondly, one gets hurt when one falls off the road.
Thirdly, regardless of where one would like the road to be or to lead, it stays firmly in place and is the only means of arriving at the correct destination. God’s Word is truth, and the truth cannot be changed to suit us.
As I remember the experience on the Plank Road from many years ago, I think of the words of the chorus by Henry Allen:
“The path is very narrow but I’ll follow,
I’ll follow, I’ll follow.
The path is very narrow but I’ll follow,
I’ll follow in the footsteps of my Lord.
Certainly, the truth is that staying on the Way of Jesus is the only safe way to travel.
Prayer: Dear Father, as we journey through life, help us to remember the Way that we should go. Even when we fall, we are grateful that Jesus remains for us as the Way. May we follow and help others to do so also. In His name, we pray. Amen.
Copyright © 2021, by Vincent Walter <email@example.com>, first published on the PresbyCan Daily Devotional presbycan.ca .
Toronto, Ontario, Canada