I suppose our life journeys are similar to roads.
This, I don’t think, is a new analogy. Tom Cochrane and Rascal Flatts sung that song, “Life is a Highway”; Robert Frost and Pocahontas improvised and expanded on the idea a bit, making it their own with forks and rivers. There is something about the metaphor of a road that gives our lives direction and trajectory, that gives them a destination.
During my undergraduate career at Michigan State, I obtained a degree in Animal Science. This was the road I took, the one I chose that would take me where I thought I wanted to go. But then I hit a fork somewhere along the road to my degree, a distraction, a stop with a view. I lingered and stumbled upon this new understanding, this new relationship, this new love. This love, I cannot explain it, other than it was something I was looking for all my life without really knowing it. It’s the kind of love that erases all insecurity and doubt; it shatters them. The brand of love that validates, encourages, and takes you right where you are; the love that accepts you as is, right now, while still seeing the beautiful person you could be. So quick to forgive, so eager to embrace. I found the love that it seems we are all looking for, or at least the love that I was looking for. But I found it in the most unlikely of places.
I found it in Jesus.
If it’s true, the analogy that our lives are all on a road, I know my road took a turn for the better when I found Jesus. Or more adequately put, when he found me and I finally stopped long enough to turn around and find him back. It’s all so weird, when I think about the way Jesus intersected my road, taking my hand and guiding me instead to a different one. Such a strange epiphany occurs to a person when Jesus looks them in the eyes and tells them, for the first time, the truth. I sincerely bet Jesus had remarkable eyes, eyes that would break your heart with their depth and mercy. Eyes of a good lover, that see you at your absolute worst, yet still have the audacity to cling to the cross to die a martyr’s death for you. Eyes that reflect a soul with the capacity to forgive everything you’ve done.
“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”
I know in my heart that I have the capacity to choose bad roads for myself, and how the bad road never seems like a bad road until you stumble to a better one. It is sometimes hard to see that the path with the boulders and the thorns is actually going to eventually kill you, when you’re too busy and stubborn and prideful to admit to yourself that there might be a better way.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
Halfway through my junior year while on my way to an Animal Science degree, I finally chose to follow the road that leads to Jesus, the road that leads to God. This is my main road now, my only road. Such a momentous decision that initially only felt like a small step; yet, even the tiniest of steps in a new direction can take you places, good places, that you had never imagined you’d find yourself. I know the road I’m on will lead me hard places, self-denying places, and heartbreaking places. But Jesus promises that it’s the road to life, and life in full. This road I’m on is sure and steady, and I know with certainty its destination.
Friends, do you know what road you are on? We are all on a road to somewhere, wherever that may be, whether we have acknowledged it or not. Some are on a road to success, some on a road to wealth, acceptance, image. Only you know what road you’re on, and I can’t decide for you. But our roads are taking us somewhere. Part of the road is in the journey, but make no mistake: highways were not made for idyllic, never-ending drives through the countryside. All roads are constructed with a destination in mind. This road you’re on, what is it, and where is its destination? Because someday we might reach our destination. And what will you find? Will the destination fulfill you, or will its satisfaction be lost with time, leaving you wanting more, sending you down new roads?
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you…
…But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”
My junior year at Michigan State, I started looking for the narrow road that leads to life.
I believe, truly, that it can be found.