The decision to make a U-turn in life is much more difficult when everyone else seems to be headed in the same direction. I mean, come on! Can all this traffic possibly be going the wrong way? I mean, isn’t it safest to just go with the flow if you’re not sure what direction you should be headed? There’s safety in numbers, right? Let’s consider this for a moment.
In my home state of Minnesota there are only two seasons: winter and road construction. Road construction season coincides however with another seasonal Minnesota pastime—cabin fever! Every Friday afternoon you’ll find a mass exodus of cars heading north for the weekend. The irony of it all is that in order to escape the mad rush of city life, one must endure yet another hectic, hair-pulling rush hour—the cabin rush.
There is one way to avoid this hassle—if you can swing it with your boss. You can take Friday off and head up in the morning or the night before. There is nothing better than leaving early Friday morning and cruising freely past the flood of work-bound traffic as you head in the opposite direction toward the freedom of the north country.
The heavy southbound traffic is crawling reluctantly toward the office to face the stress of another day’s madness. On the other side of the divider, a few happy campers drive leisurely toward the lakes for fun and relaxation. The point is this: It is not always best to be going with the flow of traffic. The good life may be found along the road less traveled!
There is a trade off, however. The road less traveled tends to be rougher riding. The most scenic, breathtaking vistas are often found along the bumpy, windy, more rustic paths. Those who insist on traveling the smooth, most comfortable, well-paved metro freeways may never leave the city to glimpse the beauty of the north shore or the mountain vistas or canyon views.
This is true of the Christian journey as well. Jesus said it this way:
The gate is wide and the road is smooth that leads to destruction, and there are many who travel it. But the gate is narrow and the road is rugged that leads to life, and there are few who take it (Matt 7:13-14).
Long before Robert Frost, Jesus instructed Christian travelers to take the road less traveled. We are to resist the temptation to merely go with the flow. The journey of the Spirit may require some back road driving, some off-road adventures and some bumpy stretches of highway. We may at times find ourselves secluded on a deserted road, wondering where everybody else is. This is no cause for alarm. God has a history of meeting people alone in the desert (Gen 28:10; Ex 3:1-6)!
We ought to avoid simply choosing the shortest, smoothest, most comfortable routes with the most modern conveniences. Remember Israel’s journey out of Egypt? The Bible says,
“God didn’t lead them by the road through the land of the Philistines, which was the shortest route…God led the people on the wilderness road, looping around to the Red Sea” (Exod 13:17-18).
That wasn’t all. Then God led them through the treacherous waters of the Red Sea! Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase of Matthew 7:13-17 puts it this way, “There are no shortcuts to God… The way to life—to God!—is vigorous and requires total attention.”
We are to follow Jesus up the rockiest cliffs and across parched deserts, through the darkest nights and heaviest storms. The way of Jesus is through the waters. The way of Jesus is the Wilderness Road.
Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how (Mark 8:34 MSG).
The Jesus-road burrows a tunnel straight through Golgotha. The only way to the bright dawn of Easter is through the darkness of Calvary’s tomb.
Check out Jeremy’s similar devotional book called “The Father’s Cabin” — a fictional account of a weekend at Jesus’ lake cabin.