“The last time I drove, I thought I was in the road good, but I was actually in the ditch. I hit a mailbox. I told my doctor about it, and he said that I shouldn’t be driving no way.”
My Grandfather relayed this story, the last time he ever drove a car, to me several years ago. At the time, I didn’t realize the significance of this event. I didn’t realize how important driving was to my Grandfather – the love of cars and driving escapes me, but for many people, driving brings great joy to them. Since I didn’t realize the sadness of what actually happened, I was able to ask, “You really didn’t know that you weren’t on the road?”
“No,” he replied and laughed.
For some reason, this story has circled back to my brain. Maybe I just miss my Grandfather, and this is just one parcel of memory I have on the conveyor belt that is easily delivered. That’s part of it, I’m sure, but I think there’s something deeper here. Admitting the fact that he didn’t know he was driving in a ditch instead of the road has always flashed as a caution light: what if the same thing happens to me?
It turns out that I ask the same question regarding my walk of faith. Am I even on the path? What am I doing? The Bible says to work out your salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12). Okay, got it, because I’ve got plenty of fear and trembling inside while trying to navigate the path, but it also says that broad is the road to destruction, and narrow is the way to salvation (Matthew 7:13-14). Stay on the path…
What if I, like my Grandfather, am driving obliviously in a ditch instead of the road?
These are the tidbits of the Christian life that I find frustrating. In my opinion, the church focuses so much on the message of Christ, and by all means keep promoting Christ, but what is the church doing to help people navigate the path? Telling someone to work out their salvation with fear and trembling, while biblically sound, may not exactly help a believer just starting out on the Christian walk, because I am pretty sure the fear and trembling are already present. Most people start out wanting to do the right thing.
Get in the Bible is another steadfast reply. Yes, I agree, the Bible is the key, and it only makes sense to read the Bible. However, I do want to point out that the Bible already provided the above two replies, and they didn’t exactly make things easier. Maybe easier isn’t always what someone should seek, but when trying to navigate the path, shouldn’t believers have a solid roadmap?
People love to point out that God speaks in a “gentle whisper” per 1 Kings 19:12, and we should expect that this is the preferred method of communication. Sure, and I believe this just as much as I believe in the “Burning Bush” and “Damascus Road” methods as well. The unsettling thing for me is deciphering which one is the preferred method, because staying on the path is vital to the Christian walk. It’s something no believer wants to find out later that he/she got it wrong his/her entire life. Wouldn’t that be terrible? Imagine standing in front of Christ at the judgement only to learn that yes, indeed you got it wrong and missed out on an abundant life, serving God with gusto instead of just accepting the grace of salvation.
“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.” Jesus said this as recorded in John 10:27-28. Perhaps, Jesus is the doctor in my Grandfather’s scenario, only the message is don’t try to drive, because Jesus is in control, and believers will know His voice and follow. In other words, don’t over think things as Christ will guide all of the believers along the narrow path.