The Road Ahead
--By Ben Gilmore
Your writer is approaching his 84th birthday. For most of you, I am 20, 40, 60 or more years up the road ahead of you on our mutual “life-adventure trail.” Almost daily, I come across things along the road, that would have been useful for someone to have told me about in advance. This is my humble effort to send a message back down the time-line to my fellow travelers.
About the topography – Often the path is broad, wide, and smooth (like an interstate highway). You need to be careful to watch the signs for your exit. Most of the time it is narrow, often rough and steep. You need to pay attention and not take the smooth, wide exits that lead to dead ends! It is a good sign when the path becomes straight and narrow and there are few other travelers along your way [see Matthew 7:14].
About the forks in the road — Along the way, you are bound to make the wrong choice and end up lost in a maze of ever more complicated grids. If you get frustrated, throw up your hands and give up, you may never get back onto the right path! Don’t give up!!!
What is on the road signs at the forks? Your very own internal compass (conscience) is reliable – BUT – you must choose to follow it. Your will and appetite will be in a shouting match with your reason! The signs read – “homosexuality”, “injustices”, “adultery”, “incest”, “idolatry”, “forms of wickedness”, “wanting what is not yours”, “meanness”, “envy”, “murder”, “contention”, “deceit”, “deep rooted spite”, “gossip”, “back-stabbing”, “haters of God”, “malicious”, “proud”, “boastful”, “evil plots”, “disobedient to parents”, “without understanding”, “promise breakers”, “perversion”, “won’t shut up”, ”unmerciful”, and “trying to get others to join you” on those dead end roads. [Romans 1:24-32]
A special message to men – Around 35 to 55 you will often discover the trail is not leading in the direction you expected. You need to be aware that many, many of your brothers are also battling this frustration and falling on a steep path to a dead end. Expect it and recognize it for what it is. Cling to your conscience. Protect it with your life!
A special message to women — As a male, I am only an observer. Reason tells me you are also subject to frustration and turning aside. If your mate is part of that frustration – I suggest caution regarding irreversible reactions.
A message to parents — You will make mistakes! You remain responsible for raising up that child in the way he should go. Do the best, (TRULY), that you can (i.e. avoid “easy ways out”) and God will do the rest. I have never seen the persistent prayers of a parent go unanswered.
Getting back onto the right path – There is a bridge directly back to the right path. Getting on it is always possible – but – there comes a time when your “compass” runs down and no longer points in the right direction. Don’t take the bridge for granted! Crossing this bridge takes only one decision – but – comes with a price:
- You must admit violating your conscience (confessing is humbling and scary!).
- You must believe God wants the best for you and has a right path ready for you to follow.
- You must choose to stay on that path.
- You must recognize that the penalty for your choices was paid by Christ
- You must accept His offer to include you in that payment
- In short – You must submit your will & appetite to Christ the Messiah.
The view from here – WOW! Each of us, with our choices, is adding to God’s providential mosaic pattern (His-story). It is beautiful! I can look back and see things in context that I missed “up close and personal.” God is doing all He can to teach us how to know Him and get along with one another! I can look ahead down the road and see an indescribably awesome future that goes on forever!
Be strong and courageous
Choose to stay on the path He set for you
I hope to see you at the endBen Gilmore