PRAY AT THE FORK IN THE ROAD
Man starts out on his life journey on a single road. When he reaches accountability, he will come to a fork in the road; then he has to decide on which one he wants to finish his journey. Jesus, the Christ, has provided a hint where each of the roads may lead. “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads toward destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow is the road that leads to life, and only a few find it” (Matthew 7:13-14; Luke 13:24). What Jesus had in mind was seeking the Kingdom of God (Matthew 6:33) and doing the Will of God (Matthew 7:21).
The first impression suggests that it is an impossible task for us. Only one person has done it so and He was the Son of God. Who among us can be like Jesus? Jesus, Himself did not want us to be like Him; rather, He wants us to do what He did and by so doing we would be acceptable as his disciples (John 10:38; 15:8). I have failed miserably in trying to be anything like Jesus, but I am able to do some things for others like He did. He has left it up to me to make choices which were beneficial or harmful. I have had not only one fork in my road but many, and these roads I have chosen had many curves with warnings signs like, “slow down” or “stop ahead.” I passed a yellow light and it cost me $150.00. Others passed behind me and were not stopped, but then I happened to have a USA license plate. I could have slammed my breaks and crashed in the middle of the intersection and ended up in jail. I saw the cars in my back mirror and decided to get out of the way. Instead of being commended for avoiding an accident, I was punished for being an alert driver. This is the kind of road we are on every day. I could have gone to a Canadian Court, which would have cost me a lot more and it may not have helped me at all. We are forced to drive on a road that is legal for some and illegal for others.
In a way, I remind myself of being like the peddler women who came to a fork in the road and began to throw up her walking stick and it did not drop her way. That is how live has become for most of us. We like to take the road that looks good and that promises little if any difficulties. Once we are on that road, there is no turn off and no end to it. We were on a trip in Northern Germany on a road for miles with no turn off and we became desperate. I had taken the wrong turn off and lost several hours to get back on the road I was intended to be on. On our last trip to Europe, our son had a gadget that took us to the right place every time. Unfortunately, life is not a gadget or an automatic pilot. We must do the steering, the accelerating and the breaking ourselves. We must also stay fit to drive as long as possible. What Jesus said to Peter applies to most of us, “I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go” (John 21:18).
Jesus had in mind our final destination, and only the narrow and rough road prepares us for the journey home where we actually came from. We only inherited our bodies and flesh from our parents; our spirits and souls come from the Creator. This small road actually branches off the wide or broad highway. We are actually born on it and are being carried along like a flood. It is too busy, too crowded and too fast. The most significant thing about this huge thorough-fare is that it too is endless because it is traveling in an endless circle and whizzes by the sign, “The Narrow Way.” It is tragic that when we are on the wide road, we do not take time to think what we are doing. Our flesh is filled with so much pleasure that it dulls our rational senses. It is when we crash and taste what we were being fed that we turn off and choose the narrow road. At least that is how I made my choice. I knew, long before I crashed, that I should have put on my breaks and turned off that merry-go-round.
The narrow road is not a pleasure trip. There is no overnight sleeper standing by to take us to our destination. There is no taxi to take us to a loge or boarding house. We are kind of stranded. We have to come up with our own wheels and shelter. Our leader, Jesus the Christ, built this narrow road (John 14:6), and while He traveled on it, He had no place to lay is head (Luke 9:58). We are not guests on this road but servants to each other and to ourselves. The road has no maintenance crew. We have to keep our passage open and safe. We have to build and sow in order to reap and live in what we have built. A wealthy contractor had his builder built many homes. One day, he asked his builder to built one home especially well. When the builder was finished, it looked fabulous. The contractor then handed the builder the keys and said, “This one is yours.” For years this builder had cut corners to fill his own pockets and now he had to live in one he really had cheated himself. Not all the travelers on the narrow road are trustworthy. That is why our Lord did not want us to travel alone or carry things with us that could attract thieves and robbers (Luke 10:1; Matthew 10:9-10).
This road is still on earth and in this world. It is the only one that takes us home to our Heavenly Father, and Satan has made it his primary project to stop us from getting back to our heavenly place with our Lord (John 14:11-4). Satan could not sway our Lord with three attempts (Matthew 4:1-11). Satan prowls around like a roaring lion to devour us (I Peter 5:8). Satan also parades as an “angelic being” promoting our best interests. He excels in planting doubt. He wants us to believe that all the trouble is God’s doing to punish us for not having lived up to his expectations. Satan has turned the truth around. It is he that was cast out of heaven and landed on this planet and set his aim on destroying man and the world (Revelation 12:9). Satan hates what God has created and he is on his way to wreck God’s handiwork. “Woe to the earth and the sea because the devil has gone down to you. He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short” (Revelation 12:12). “For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before God day and night, has been hurled down” (Revelation 12:10). Beware of presuming that we are immune from being trapped like Adam and Eve or even Simon Peter (Genesis 3:1-7; Luke 22:31-32). “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” (James 1:17).
This also is the only road of grace where our Lord takes us back in case we fail or fall. The Lord always is willing to forgive, if we are gracious to ourselves and to others. Grace is more than a gift — it is also the road we travel on or the life we live. Grace is the narrow road that makes it possible to get back where we came from. Jesus the Christ, our Lord and Savior, is the way of grace (John 1:17). In Jesus, God has extended His Arm of grace, so that we get a second chance to finish for what we were created to do in the first place (Ephesians 2:4-10). Our life did not begin when we came into this world. “For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he elected (predestined) us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will –- to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves” (Ephesians 1:4-6). Jesus’ invitation, to those that did his will would be, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world” (Matthew 25:34). Peter, who was tricked before, counseled thus, “Therefore, dear friends, since you already know this, be on guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless men and fall from your secure position. But grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen” (II Peter 3:17-18). I give grace priority in my prayers and I found it on the narrow road.