CAUTION: ROUGH ROAD AHEAD

rough road ahead sign

          When driving down the highway on a trip my wife and I took recently, we   approached a digital sign that was flashing the words, CAUTION: ROUGH ROAD AHEAD. The orange signs and barrels lined along the shoulder told us that we were getting closer to some repair work.

          Entering the site, I immediately felt the front tires of my mini-van drop with a thud. Then the back tires dropped. We could see how the top layer of asphalt had been stripped off leaving an uneven surface. This made a loud rumbling sound as the tires rolled over it. Slowing down a bit, I was careful to keep both hands on the steering wheel lest the car be pulled to one side. It was a bumpy, uncomfortable ride for several miles. But before too long, all the noise quickly turned into silence. Thankfully, we were back on a nice, smooth road once again.

road repair          This experience is like traveling down the road of life. We move along each day on smooth road minding our business. And then suddenly we approach an unexpected situation that signals CAUTION: ROUGH ROAD AHEAD. We enter the road, aiming to do our best, to be alert with hope, and to keep in control until we successfully get through it.

          That road gets rough in so many ways: an illness, a difficult decision, rejection, failure, stress, death of a loved one, and umpteen other “bumps” that often make life most uncomfortable for a time. Even though we may have seen the warning signs, we continue to tread ahead cautiously aware of the dangers we could face. We hope and pray that no matter the dire conditions, we’ll make it through safely until it all smoothes out and we start feeling better.

          Cautiously aware of our circumstances, we turn to the Good News of God’s Word to keep our lives under the Lord’s control. We do not merely wish to survive the bumpiness of life’s unsettling let downs. Rather, we carefully move on toward perfection (Heb. 6:1-3) so as to thrive in spite of them.

          Our primary focus for making it safely over the rough spots is based upon the way God guides and provides, while we trust him to make the road smooth again:  “…for those who are righteous, the way is not steep and rough. You are a God who does what is right, and you smooth out the path ahead of them,” (Isaiah 26:7, New Living Translation, NLT). Concerning this verse, Pulpit Commentary says,

          The way of the just is uprightness; or, the path for the just is straight. It is one of the main blessings of the righteous that God “makes their way straight before their face” (Psalm 4:8), “leads them in a plain path” (Psalm 27:11), “shows them the way they are to walk in” (Psalm 143:8), so that they are for the most part free from doubt and perplexity as to the line of conduct which it behooves them to, pursue. If this is so in the present life, still more will it be the uniform condition of the just in another sphere. Then God will of a surety “direct all their paths” (Proverbs 3:6). “Thou, most upright, dost weigh”; literally, “O upright One, thou dost weigh.” The term “upright” is applied to God in Deuteronomy 32:4; Psalm 25:8  and Psalm 92  By “weighing the path of the just” is meant keeping it, as Justice keeps her scales, straight and level. –Pulpit Commentary.

          Jesus Christ, God’s begotten Son, is living proof of God’s graciousness when the road gets rough. When John the Baptist paved the way for Jesus to make his appearance, he quoted an Old Testament prophecy that looked ahead toward smooth travelling once and for all: Luke 3:4-6; Isaiah 40:3-5

           John heralded the Good News that Jesus, the Messiah of God, was on his way to make the path smoother. Jesus demonstrated what John had been proclaiming when he healed the sick, performed miracles, and exhorted his people to repent for the Kingdom of God is near (Matthew 4:17).  We look forward to the day when Jesus will return to put us back on smooth road, never to travel the rough road ever again.

          With this in mind, we remember how Jesus came the first time to walk that rough road, to identify with our suffering, even death itself, and then be raised to immortality. So, when we enter our road, we have Someone we can follow to supply everything we need to help us until we walk down that perfect, eternal road in God’s glorious Kingdom on earth.

          I found the following inspirational poem that relates to these thoughts:

The Road Is Too Rough

“The road is too rough,” I said,
“Dear Lord, there are stones that hurt me so.”
And He said, “Dear child, I understand,
I walked it long ago.”

“But there’s a cool green path,” I said;
“Let me walk there for a time.”

“No child,” He gently answered me,
“The green path does not climb.”

“My burden,” I said, “Is far too great,
How can I bear it so?”
“My child,”
He said,
“I remember the weight; I carried My cross, you know.”

But I said, “I wish there were friends with me
Who would make my way their own.”

“Oh, yes,” He said, “Gethsemane
Was hard to bear alone.”

And so I climb the stony path,
Content at last to know

That where my Master had not gone,
I would not need to go.

And strangely then I found new friends,
The burden grew less sore;

And I remember—long ago
He went that way before.

– Olga J. Weiss
Source unknown

Good News to you!
Pastor Michael

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