July 19, 2002 • By Ed Wrather
Let us search out and examine our ways, and turn back to the Lord. - Lamentations 3:40.
Once while we were on our way to visit our son who lives in Broken Bow, Oklahoma, in the southeast corner of the state, we were took the scenic route. The fall foliage is often magnificent in the eastern part of the state, and we traveled south along the eastern border to see as much of the beauty of nature as we could. Along the way, we neglected to make a turn that we should have, and fifteen miles or so later we passed a sign that said, “Welcome to Arkansas.” At that point, we knew we were not on the right highway, and we had to turn around. Now there was nothing wrong with the highway we were on, and the scenery was still beautiful, it was just that if we continued on that highway, we would not have arrived at our intended destination. Eventually, we did arrive at our son’s home some thirty minutes or so later than we had planned.
Jeanie and I laughed when we saw the sign "Welcome to Arkansas” because we knew immediately what had happened, and it was far from being the first time we had gotten off track during our travels. On a trip to Tennessee, we thought we knew exactly where we were, and when we would arrive at a certain destination. However, we were unaware that a completely new highway had been built that our map did not show at all. We finally had to stop and ask for directions and I bought a newer map. Other times we have been at a crossroads like our visit to Aliceville, Alabama, when a lady pulled up next to us, and invited us to follow her through the twists and turns to Aliceville.
In life, it is not unusual to get off track somewhere along the way; and usually the scenery is still good, and it is not such a bad life. However, it is not the life that our Lord planned for us if we had only followed Him more closely. To find our way back to the right path, we may have to turn around. We may need to ask for directions. We may need to get out our map (the Bible), and study it more closely. There may be someone like the apostle Paul (or the lady who led us to Aliceville) that we can follow to find our way back. To get back on track may not be easy. Turning around may be difficult. But the rewards are eternal.
Most people get off track several times during the course of a lifetime, and so we should always be prepared, and ready to turn around. We should often examine our maps, and frequently ask directions, and then we will be more likely to stay on the right path.
The apostle Paul was on the wrong path while on the way to Damascus, but when he encountered the risen Lord Jesus, he changed his course forever. King David had gotten off course through adultery and murder, but when confronted by the prophet Nathan he turned from the evil path, back to the paths of righteousness.
What path are you on today? Is the path you are on the best path, the path the Lord has planned for your life? It may be time to get out the map and ask someone who knows (like the Lord), where you are at on the path of life. If you have gotten off track, the solution is simple, turn around.