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Thursday, 4 May 2017

Lessons on the road!

This morning, my wife and I set off to the home of friends, who are dairy farmers. We had been before, but I had failed to "mark the spot" in the sat-nav, so we were following written directions. All did not go as planned!

En route, we were held up by two different sets of roadworks, and then by what looked to be a quite serious RTA (road traffic accident) although, at least, only the one vehicle appeared to be involved. I thought of life and the way in which, however well we plan, there are unexpected obstacles that hold us back.

I remembered Joseph, whose story is recounted in the Old Testament book of Genesis. He certainly had his life all mapped out. Listen: "Now Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers they only hated him the more. He said to them, “Hear this dream which I have dreamed: behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and lo, my sheaf arose and stood upright; and behold, your sheaves gathered round it, and bowed down to my sheaf.” His brothers said to him, “Are you indeed to reign over us? Or are you indeed to have dominion over us?” So they hated him yet more for his dreams and for his words. Then he dreamed another dream, and told it to his brothers, and said, “Behold, I have dreamed another dream; and behold, the sun, the moon, and eleven stars were bowing down to me.” But when he told it to his father and to his brothers, his father rebuked him, and said to him, “What is this dream that you have dreamed? Shall I and your mother and your brothers indeed come to bow ourselves to the ground before you?” And his brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the saying in mind." (Gen.37:5-11).

Of course, as many who read this will be aware, that is not what happened - at least, not immediately! Young Joseph was sold into slavery by his elder brothers; he was falsely accused of sexual assault, and thrown into jail. I suspect that anyone would agree that those were big obstacles to his dream! Of course, that is not the end of the story (well worth reading it all: Gen 37-50), and Joseph's dreams did, in fact, come true!

We continued our journey but, at a particular roundabout, roadworks obscured a sign and we went off on the wrong road! We had travelled about two miles before accepting that we had made a mistake but, when we did, we fed some information into the sat-nav and that got us back on to the right route.

That's a bit like life as well, is it not? We make a mistake, but carry on regardless - because we may not have realised that a mistake was made! However, when we do work out that there is a problem - and one of our own making - often, if not always, the best thing to do is to turn around and go back to the place at which the mistake was made. The Biblical word for that, in spiritual terms, is repentance. It's an absolutely necessary pre-requisite to salvation. It was the proclamation of John the Baptiser: "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." (Matt.3:2). It was the core message of the earliest preaching of the Lord Jesus: "From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” It was the message preached by the apostles: " Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, ..." (Acts 3:19). It is the message that is proclaimed by true disciples of Jesus, even today. Have you repented, and turned from your sinful way of life, trusting in the atoning sacrifice of the Lord Jesus for your salvation, and the empowering presence of God the Holy Spirit to help you live your life for Him?

The third lesson from the morning came to me when a small bird - probably a sparrow - flew right across the pathway of the car, only inches above the ground. I hope that I didn't hit it but, if I did, then I would claim that it was to blame! You see, it didn't have to be flying at that level. It was perfectly capable of flying high in the air, well away from the dangers of road traffic.

The prophet Isaiah wrote, concerning those who trust the LORD: "... they who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eaglesthey shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint." (40:31; emphasis added). The disciple of Jesus need not linger in the lowest places. We may not be able to, physically, fly unaided. However, spiritually, we may soar above the temptations of the enemy - if we are willing to do so!

It was an interesting journey, this morning, with three clear lessons provided. I trust that one, or all, of them may be of help to you as you travel life's journey, and that you may be doing so in the company of the King of kings and Lord of lords. He is the best Companion you will ever have!

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