It may sound strange to some people and sometimes they are ignored but, I would like to compare the signs we have on roads and highways to the guidance we find in Christ as we journey through life.
Life is a journey and all along the way we encounter signs, stop signs, speed limit signs, caution signs and warnings about things like construction, deer crossings and high water. An outing in the car also allows us to see all kinds of drivers. There are the folks that drive cautiously under the speed limit, these drivers take no risks and sometimes follow the posted signs without really thinking about why or considering what the signs mean.
We also have the people that think that the signs and limits do not apply to them. They exceed the speed limit and safety suggestions. You have seen, the rolling stop at the clearly posted 4-way stop sign, the heavy foot in the school zone and the car that leaves you in the dust in the no-passing-zone. We often see these drivers from the back.
We also find the student drivers. The young men and women that are just learning to read the signs, perhaps feeling their freedom and also bringing many big ideas and plans to the car but no real driving or life experience.
Finally, we are likely to find the people that mostly make an effort to be good citizens in traffic but can be distracted by the burdens of life and the demands on their time and resources.
Although these drivers seem different, all drivers get lost from time to time, all face danger, risks and uncertainty. What is different is how they regard the many signs and what they do when the journey is troubled, when the road is unclear and when they feel alone on the journey.
These same four types of drivers can be found on the spiritual road of life. We find the rule followers that know the scriptures but do not really embody the teachings of Jesus. These people are on the road, following the other travelers but doing the Christian journey in on automatic pilot. Never thinking about the signs, not stopping to help a stranded traveler and often failing to notice the Lord’s blessings and beauty as they drive.
The fast drivers don’t have time for signs, the signs are for other people. They make up their own rules and even though they know that the signs promise forgiveness, love and eternal life, they pick speed and immediate pleasure. When they encounter problems, it is often the fault of another driver, poor road design, weather or the response of the vehicle. They will attempt to get to their destination many times but will always come up short and empty. When Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life…” John 14:5-6, it can be hard to hear over the roar of the engine.
The young drivers have spent years watching other drivers. They see the safe travelers and have felt the wind in their hair as they were passed on the road by the fast travelers. Some noticed the lure of the bright paint on the sports car and they have even been tempted by the freedom of these drivers and the promise of going off-road and taking the path with no signs.
It can be hard for them to see the blind corners of life, the sharp turns, the suddenly rising water of a family or financial crisis.
These young drivers need fellow travelers to help them maintain their focus on the signs and to stay on the path of righteousness. The Bible tells us in Isaiah 42:16, “I will bring the blind by a way they did not know; I will lead them in paths they have not known. I will make darkness light before them, And crooked places straight. These things I will do for them, and not forsake them.”
At last we come to our good citizen Christian. This is the traveler that is trying to pay attention to the signs and stay on the path of righteousness. They enjoy most of their journey, fellow Christians have given road-side assistance and they use the Bible as their map. Their vehicle would mostly pass a safety inspection.
But, they find themselves in the dark, on flooded roads, or when the problems of life make the road hard to see, they know that faith will help them see the signs. If they can just believe and hold their course, they will reach their destination. These travelers take God at his word when he said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:5-6
They have the assurance that though the path is troubled their destination is promised. As the Psalmist said, “For this is God, Our God forever and ever; He will be our guide Even to death.” Psalms 48:14
They know that the road is not always easy but that they do not journey alone and that even in their darkest moments their hands on the wheel can be stilled by the promises of God. Promises sealed by the sacrifice of his son Jesus. In Deuteronomy 31:8 we hear the promise that we never travel alone when we travel with God, “…He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.”