Proverbs 4:15 (MSG)
Stay clear of it; give it a wide berth. Make a detour and be on your way.
I took a trip to Atlanta Georgia with my sister one hot summer back in the '90's. We were traveling with her kids who were then ages ten and three and my son who was two at the time. Did I mention it was hot?
It was just the two of us and our kids. She was in the driver's seat and I was the "official navigator'. I was attached to the map like glue. I read and reread it to make sure that we were traversing the correct highways and by~ways. As we traveled over the mountains and into Nashville the traffic picked up significantly. There were about five lanes of cars and semi trucks all going seventy miles per hour with approximately one hair's width between us. Or that's what it felt like anyway.
At one point, we came up over the crest of a hill and all we could see were break lights. Suddenly a little red sports car that had been traveling in the "far left lane dove across all five lanes of traffic to hit the off ramp at about 75 miles per hour. It seemed like he didn't even look to see if his lane switch would be safe as he swerved to the exit ramp. My sister and I even said to each other at the time, "Look at that guy...driving like a maniac! What's his problem?" Little did we know that we were about to find out the reason for his desperate move and successful transfer to the exit lane!
We slowed down with the flow of traffic. At first it was a decrease to about 35mph, but then it progressed to 20 mph, then 10mph, then a complete stop. Not even one car was moving. It was like being parked in an oven with the lights on! We didn't know what was happening. All we knew, was that we were stopped in the middle of the highway, with absolutely no alternative except to sit there! And sit there we did.....for about four hours!!
As it turns out, there was construction work on the highway. It had created such a back log of cars, that people became prisoners within their own cars. Keep in mind, that in our car, we had two children under the age of five, and one tween. You can only imagine the way that our fruits of the spirit were tested. You know the ones....love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control... It went from bad to worse, as we realized we had to turn the car off to conserve gas and come up with some way to take care of plumbing issues....if you follow me. Oh my.
As time past we found ourselves with lots of time for reflection about the red car that had risked everything to get off the highway!! We finally concluded, that he was probably a local driver that read the signs of trouble when the red tail lights appeared. Thinking quickly he maneuvered off the road to a detour to avoid what he knew to be a significant delay. Not only was he able to avert a delay, but he managed to skip a great deal of agony and pain that would have accompanied his original route.
This trip reminds me of tonight's verse. The previous verse is talking about the "Wicked Byway". We're told to go a different way....to take a detour around the wicked path! What I learned from my Nashville trip can be applied here. I learned to first, read the traffic or in the case of wickedness know what will glorify Christ and recognize evil for the destroyer that it is. Secondly, I learned to take action when it is appropriate and to not be afraid to change the initial travel plan. Third, I learned that your children are often involved in your plans and will have to suffer the consequences for poor decisions. Finally, I learned that if you stay on the path of wickedness, it could get very uncomfortable.
Praying tonight to read the map of life correctly and stay completely off of the wicked path. Praising God for His ability to gently direct us and keep us on those roads that are clear of construction. Finally, thanking Him for being with us through all of our trials. Remembering that John 16:33 (NIV)~ "In this world you will have trouble, but take heart for I have overcome the world" is a promise that as a child of God, I can cling to!