Bigger than life

What a God! His road stretches straight and smooth. Every God-direction is road-tested. Everyone who runs toward him makes it. (Psalm 18:30)

I just returned from a road trip that didn't stretch across the loveliest of landscape, nor did it include the best of roadways. It seems every state has a different way of paving and differing priorities for how they will accomplish the task. Some places had potholes, rough surfaces, and barely visible striping dividing the lanes. Other places had that nice sound-proofing rubber overlay that made driving over those places quite nice. We all travel different types of roads, don't we? Some of us get way too many of those bumpy, under-maintained patches, relishing those moments when there is just a short break from dodging hazards and enjoying the ride. We desire the smooth patches, but we develop a certain sense of alertness when we might have to dodge this hazard or the next!

Whenever I travel to the high country, occasionally making my way out of the dry desert lands, I manage to encounter four-legged creatures that like to stand by the roadway and even dart across it from time to time. Those larger than life elk and sweet brown-eyed deer all look so innocent, but when they want to go from this patch of green grass to the next, there is no stopping them. People who drive around these animals all the time know their habits, but I do not. I always slow down, take notice of how they are acting, and observe for the slightest movement that indicates they are intending to dart. I love seeing them, but their presence makes me hyper-vigilant and attentive. Did you ever stop to consider the hazards in your path as those things that may just make you 'hyper-vigilant and attentive'?

Yes, God prepares straight and smooth patches for us, but even the patches that are a little rougher than we might like are 'road-tested' by God. He knows each of the hazards and helps us to become hyper-vigilant and attentive to their presence. We cannot ignore the reality that we sometimes travel paths God never intended for us to travel. Does that mean we aren't going to be alert to the hazards? Not necessarily, but we might not believe any exist just because we don't immediately see them. The thing about the elk and the deer by the roadways is that they 'blend in' with their surroundings so well. Their hides are made so they can hide! The hazards are there, they just don't reveal themselves all that easily to us.

I think that is why God asks us to take the paths he has prepared for us rather than launching off into territories he doesn't really want us to go into - the hazards may be pretty large and come at us unnoticed. If you have ever wanted an argument to support obedience, that may just be one of the best ones. We will always encounter hazards bigger than we'd like whenever we are traveling into areas of disobedience. They won't always be immediately apparent, but they are bigger than life nonetheless! Just sayin!

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