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Making the wrong turn

Making the wrong turn
Making the wrong turn
The Rev. Kathy Brumbaugh
By The Rev. Kathy Brumbaugh, Special Writer

Background text: Genesis 5:21-24
Devotional text: Matthew 7:13-14

I enjoy taking road trips. When the weather is good, I may just go for a drive. At other times, I make plans for longer trips, those where I go to visit friends and family. In today’s world, especially, it just seems easier to drive.

When I was growing up, my grandparents almost always went on a Sunday afternoon drive and took me along. We’d go to see how the construction of the new state highway was coming along or watch the new buildings going up at the state university. Sometimes, it was a drive in the country, just to see the scenery and maybe stop for ice cream.

I think those early roots brought about my love for driving to see what is going on in the world around me. Any friend or family member who recommends a road trip, I’m in.

These days, we often use a GPS or smartphone to plan the route, but I still like to look at my maps, too. I have a friend who calls herself “the map lady” because, even though she and her husband use electronics to guide their travels, she also pulls out her maps to see the route they will travel ahead of time.

I like maps, and I like to use them, too. They give me a picture of where I am heading. For me, it makes the travel easier, because even with the route-by-route directions given by my phone, I can still get lost or make a wrong turn.

Life is like that, you know. We make plans, we think we know what direction we are headed in and, then, we find we’ve lost our way. Like a roadside attraction, something comes up that takes our attention away from our chosen path. Or, someone may offer us a route they say will get us there faster or that will even end up bypassing our chosen path.

Our lives can become different based on our choosing the right way or the wrong way. We can start out doing fine and then bam!; we discover it was not so fine after all.

The Bible is like a road map for living our lives. It has a lot to say to us today about staying the course that leads to what is right for us, as well as how taking a wrong turn can lead to disaster. Let’s look at some of these scriptures that offer us advice to stay on course.

In Psalm 37:23-24, we read, “If the Lord delights in a man’s way, he makes his steps firm; though he stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand.”

I love this Psalm because in just these two verses we learn so much about God and about choosing our path. It tells us we should seek God’s will for us in life, for God has given to us all that we need to live rightly. As we delight in our God, God delights in us and keeps our way upright.

Even if we should stumble or fail in what we do, God is right there to help us, to give us strength so we can continue in the way of the Lord. We should know that no one is perfect; everyone fails from time to time. God knows that and recognizes it in our lives. However, as long as we seek to stay on the right road, even if we sometimes get off course, we can count on God to help us, to bring us back.

This reminds me of Romans 3:23-24: “We all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace by the redemption that came by Jesus Christ.”

As we believe in Christ’s salvation for each of us, we are forgiven and, thereby, renewed by the grace of God. Even when we sin and fall short, turning from the road that was right, God always seeks for us to return to him so we can once again continue along the good path.

Back in Genesis 5:21-24, we learn the brief story of Enoch. This scripture tells us that Enoch walked with God for 300 years. However, we first learn that he lived for 65 years and then became Methuselah’s father. After that, he walked with God for 300 years.

What did he do in those first 65 years? How did he live his life during those early days? The Bible doesn’t tell us, but we should also note that in this list of Adam’s ancestors, it is only Enoch who has the designation of walking with God. This would indicate to us that Enoch became an exceptionally godly man after the birth of his son, so exceptional that Enoch did not even face death. For the scripture says that at the age of 365 years, “God took him away.” Notice, it does not say he died. All the other ancestors are listed with the age of their death, but not for Enoch.

How do we walk with God today? What scripture helps us find the way to walk with God? In Matthew 7:13-14, Jesus spoke to the people about the godly road: “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.”

These words in no way mean it is difficult to become a Christian, for when we choose to believe in Jesus as our Savior we are entering the narrow gate. Jesus called the wide road the one leading to destruction. In this, he was referring to the many worldly ways, evil desires, wrong turns, deceitful acts, disastrous temptations that we may fall into when we veer off the right path taught to us by Jesus.

We find the right road by studying the teachings of Jesus. We learn to pray to God through him. We feel the nudgings of the Holy Spirit within us, showing us the right way to go, the right things to do. Our strength comes from the Lord Jesus Christ, for even in our weakness he gives us strength.

Next week, we will look at more of what the Bible has to say to us about choosing the right road for our lives.