If you have ever gone the wrong way, missed the turn-off on the highway, or found yourself turned around in some situation, you know that moment of "how'd I do that" which occurs. You know what I mean - that moment of sheer panic or rise of stress level within which signals you have just done something you are so sorry you did! Over recent weeks, there have been various accidents reported on local TV about several "wrong-way drivers" on the freeways around town. In most cases, lives have been lost because of the "wayward" driving of some motorist heading the wrong direction, often for miles and miles. What happened to get them on the freeway going in the completely wrong direction, and at what point did they recognize they were maybe headed against traffic? In most cases, there might not have been any warning to the drivers who were so impaired they chose the off-ramp instead of the on-ramp to enter the freeway. It wasn't for the lack of signage announcing they were going the "wrong way" clearly emblazoned on glow in the dark signs with bold white letters against a red background. It wasn't for the lack of opposing traffic trying to get their attention with horns and lights flashing. It wasn't for the lack of police officers trying to "catch" the driver to get them to stop. All these warning signs and alerts, but none of them stopped without either doing serious damage to themselves, physical property, or even the taking of a life. Some may ask what went wrong, while others might just simply jump to the conclusion they were all impaired drivers. I cannot comment on either of these conclusions, but I can say this - something very wrong happened regardless of all the warning signs and attempted "advice" to turn back or just plain stop. Life is kind of like that for us once things get "rolling along", isn't it? We get so far down the road in some of our moments of wrong decision and find we are just "too far gone" to turn back!
He who is right in his walk is sure in his steps, but he who takes the wrong way will be found out. (Proverbs 10:9 NLV)
We thought we were "sure" in our steps, regardless of what they might have been, only to find we were facing "opposing" traffic in our lives! We might not have even recognized we were going the "wrong way" until we came up to the place where we recognized we were actually "injured" in the process. Wrong way decisions are eventually going to leave a mark in our lives - if not physically, there is the emotional and spiritual toll to be considered. Most of these are compounded because we also hurt relationships we once valued and held so close to our heart. Then in a moment's "wrong way" pathway we find ourselves bringing what appears to be irreparable harm. The good news is that no pathway takes us to a place of total "non-repair" in God's hands. What man may not be able to put together again, his hands have the power to restore and heal. It would just have been easier to not have taken the path in the first place!
The same things hold true in our lives when we find ourselves walking paths which lead the wrong way. It isn't because we don't get some kind of warning signs to avoid the "merging" into traffic which is totally opposed to the direction God wants us to take in life. There are probably more warning signs than we might want to admit - we just block them out of our view or find we are distracted by other things and don't recognize them as they pass us by. The same is true of all the warnings others attempt to give us. We hear them talking to us much like the wrong way motorists hear the horns honking, but we just don't "connect" those "sharp blasts" of warning words as meaningful for our lives. We may even hit a few hazards along the way, slowing us down a little like when a motorist careens into the center divider, but then just keeps on driving. The vehicle is a little worse for the wear, but they limp along with the damage. We aren't much different once we get going down the wrong way. We somehow justify if we got this far there is no turning back. Oh, we could not be more wrong! If we'd just stop right there, we might find ourselves a little disoriented and surely in the middle of a muddle, but we often gain perspective if we just stop long enough to notice our dilemma!
Wrong way drivers eventually get "found out". It is almost impossible to drive the wrong way and not encounter some form of "oncoming resistance" in our path. Even when we try to row a boat upstream, we find the resistance makes the course we want to take a little more challenging, right? Going with the flow is easiest most of the time, but trust me, we don't always find ourselves with the "bow of our boat" facing the right direction either! What we cannot delude ourselves into believing is this idea that our course is too "determined" or "settled" to turn around. We possess what we need to get back on course, we just have to give up on struggling to stay on course going the totally wrong way! Often the thing which keeps us on the wrong course is our stubborn pride. We don't want to admit we have noticed we are going the wrong way! We think this will make us look foolish. Well, let me just assure you - it looks more foolish to be the only set of headlights headed south when all the other sets are headed north on that road! Just sayin!