Monday, October 7, 2013

This Way to the Dead End

Psycho Dog is temporarily...away.  I like to think of her as being away at college, living in a dorm with six other dogs, and her RA is the trainer. Or, perhaps more suitably, away at a mental institution and her chief psychiatrist is the trainer.  At any rate, she's not here.  It's just Brian, Normal Dog and me.  

I  took Lucy (Normal Dog) for a nice morning walk and saw an interesting sign.  It was one of those cheap plastic Halloween decorations---a pitchfork with a sign in the middle that said, "This way to the dead end."  My first reaction was, "Oh, I hate Halloween.  Stupid signs."  Then I actually saw the humor and creativity in it.  Not so much the sign, but the creativity of where it was placed.  It was in front of a house that is the last house before a dead end, on a street that does not have a sign indicating that it is a dead end.  Maybe that's because it's a nice neighborhood and nice neighborhoods don't have dead ends; they have cul-de-sacs, and no one really knows what that means. And because cul-de-sacs are acceptable, there is no need for a sign that lets you know that the short cut you're looking for won't be found cutting through this street, because you'll have to eventually turn around. 

I had to give the owner an A for creativity.  But the lesson wasn't lost on me, because I'm always looking for the lesson on my path with God. 

"This way to the dead end."  A clear indication that the path you're traveling on will not lead you to what you are looking for.  A street sign usually just says "Dead End." and lets you travel down the road until you actually hit the dead end.  I live on a "dead end" street.  I do not live on a cul-de-sac street.  However, the street is a mile long, so, if you have a short attention span, you may actually forget that you're traveling down a dead-end street until the road stops.  What if the sign actually told us, "This way to the dead end"? We might remember that sign!

Wouldn't it be nice if we had signs like that along the path in life?  Along our path with God? Signs that would let us know that the shortcut we're trying to take down this path will actually make our trip longer because it doesn't go anywhere?  And because it will abruptly stop, we will have to turn around and find the right path? And all of that will result in taking longer to get to our desired destination?

I wish I could put a sign like that at a high school party, where all the kids think that doing drugs will make them fit in, but instead will lead to addiction.  "This way to the dead end."  Or the ones who give themselves away easily, having random sex, and end up with HPV.  "This way to the dead end."  Or the girl who thinks that by giving in to the boy she's dated for six months will make him love her and afterwards he breaks up with her, and then she discovers that she's pregnant.  "This way to the dead end."  Or the boy, living in the projects, who is talked into dealing drugs to make the money he needs to get out of the 'hood'..only to get arrested and sent to jail.  "This way to the dead end." 

I wish I could stand outside the abortion clinic, the bar, the street corner where the prostitute works, maybe even Congress...and hold up a sign that says, "This way to the dead end."  

It's more subtle than, "Turn or burn!" No one really responds to that kind of harsh sign.  God is like that-subtle.  He doesn't beat us over the head with scripture; He doesn't scream at us or lecture us.  Just like those rebellious teenagers who think they know it all, we wouldn't listen anyway. We would scoff and say, "Oh, what do you know?"  He allows us to go down our own path if we wish; he allows us free will because it is that free will that makes us turn around, seeking the path that leads to the Righteousness of God through the cross of Jesus Christ. We need to come freely and willingly.

The sign could have said, "This way to hell," but that sounds too much like turn and burn.  No, "This way to the dead end" gets our attention.  But we still ignore it.  Like the "Wet Paint" sign--how many of us have actually touched the paint to see if it's wet?  Signs....I think I went over this already, didn't I?  Well, if you're anything like me, you might need to hear it again.  I see the sign, "This way to the dead end."  But that doesn't mean I will heed it.  "Oh, that's not for me; that's for someone else,"  I might say, as I travel down that path.  Maybe pride might rear up its ugly head..."Oh, I go down this road all the time.  I know it says it's a dead end, but I know the shortcut that no one else knows."  Yeah, okay.  

Maybe you've encountered a detour sign along the path.  You follow the detour signs, but the signs suddenly stop and you don't know where you're supposed to go.  So you follow the cars in front of you.  But they're all going down the road that has a sign that says, "This way to the dead end."  You reason that must be the way, because they're all going down that road (everybody else is doing it, so it must be okay!).  Then you get to the end and realize that the first car really didn't know where it was going, and everyone else just followed.  So now there is this crazy turning around by every car and they're all going every which way and it looks like a circus! 

We all like shortcuts.  We live in a world where getting things done the quickest way possible is desirable.  Choosing a "shortcut" to God might seem like a good idea, but usually doesn't pan out for us.  "This way to the dead end."  Taking the road, the path that leads to the dead end only delays our journey to our Promised Land, and creates frustration.  Following others who seem to know where they're going often leads us to the dead end. Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it" (Isaiah 30:21).  We need to have our ears open as well as our eyes.  

See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction...choose life so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice and hold fast to him. (Deut 30:15-20 selected).  

"This way to the dead end."  It's not just a sign we see with our eyes.  We must keep our ears open to hear God's voice of warning, and our hearts soft and pliable to feel the holy tug deep within our soul that leads us away from the way to the dead end and onto the path to Righteousness and Life.  May we always be aware of the dangers of ignoring the visible sign, the audible voice and the holy tug of the Spirit deep within our hearts.  Don't test the paint  to see if it's really wet-trust the sign! Hold fast to Him!

Blessings Along the Path,

Choose Life (Big Tent Revival)

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