Whenever the world’s most dangerous roads are discussed there are some that always make the list. For instance, any heavily traveled road that is narrow and has a cliff on one side and the wall of a mountain on the other normally qualifies as a dangerous highway. Such roads include the North Yungas Road in Bolivia (a 40-mile, one-way road that claims 200-300 lives every year). Another is the Sichuan-Tibetan Highway in China (which reaches elevations over 16,000 feet). And another is the Karakoram Highway in Pakistan-China. This road is over 800 miles long, reaches over 15,000 feet in elevation and is plagued with landslides. We could mention many others. They claim hundreds lives because of their many sharp turns, hazardous conditions, and terrible weather.
But there is one deadly road that is neither high in elevation, nor steep, nor does it have any hairpin turns. Weather is usually not a factor in its many accidents and it never experiences landslides. Yet it is frequently listed as one of the world’s most dangerous roads. This 1,000-mile road is the Eyre Highway in southern Australia.
The Eyre Highway is extremely remote, passes almost no medical facilities, and passes through hot, waterless places. But these factors are not the primary cause of its fatalities. The worst characteristic of this road is its straightness. The Eyre Highway has the longest stretch of perfectly straight road – nearly 100 miles. And it is this monotonous, featureless, and uninterrupted section which lulls so many to their death.
Archimedes stated that the closest distance between two points is a straight line. Therefore, many of us pursue the most direct route from point A to point B. And we always try to avoid any hurdles or diversions along the way.
But when God guides and directs our steps, we must be conscious of another reality. God is not interested in leading us on the straightest and most comfortable journey. Part of His agenda is not only to work through us, but to also work in us. God wants to conform us into the image of His Son, Jesus Christ, and make us fit for heaven. He also wants to prepare us for our primary mission in life. Therefore, God incorporates many curves, dips, and hills into our journey. They are there to awaken us, challenge us, and develop our skills. They are there to make us grow.
The curves, dips, and hills in our journey are there to awaken us, challenge us, develop our skills, and make us grow.
This is something I didn’t quite understand while I labored through Bible college and seminary. The fields were white and ready for harvest, so I thought. So I lived with a sense of urgency to “get out there and get busy.” I believed formal education constituted the totality of my “preparation” and wanted to get through it as quickly as possible.
But it seemed as though God kept allowing things to frustrate my plans. I knew what God wanted me to do in life. Yet, at times, it seemed as though He made my journey harder than it needed to be. God was allowing delays and detours, when all I wanted was a straight line to fulltime ministry. “Who was in charge of my circumstances, God or the devil? If God was in charge, then why was He diverting me to the right and to the left of the objective?”
I didn’t realize that God’s objective was not only to get me into ministry, but to prepare me for that ministry. Even more, God was preparing me for eternity. Therefore, my route could not be the easiest and most direct. It had to be steep and winding.
This always reminds me of the striking difference between the journeys which Saul and David took to the throne (Saul – 1 Samuel 8-15; David – 16-31). Saul’s route was direct. Overnight, Saul went from obscurity to fame, from poverty to riches, and from insignificance to power. Yet, as king of Israel, he quickly crumbled under pressure. A straight route to the top destroyed him.
David’s journey was the opposite. Although God called and anointed him as king in his youth, God would not allow David to reign until many years had passed. And adversity, delays, and disappointments filled those intervening years. But when the full weight of royal responsibility fell upon him, David discovered God had prepared him for the job. David was now ready.
God is not your adversary. God is for you, not against you. He wants to prepare you for your life’s mission and for heaven above.
If your path to accomplish noble and good things for God and others seems to be fraught with roadblocks and hurdles, do not despair. Things are not “out of control.” God is not your adversary. God is for you, not against you. But He has other tasks on His agenda besides all those wonderful things He wants you to accomplish. He also wants to prepare you for your life’s mission and for heaven above.
“Have you forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you as his children? He said, “My child, don’t make light of the Lord’s discipline, and don’t give up when he corrects you. For the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he chastens each one he accepts as his child.” As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children. Who ever heard of a child who is never disciplined by its father? If God doesn’t discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children at all. …No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.” (Hebrews 12:5-8, 11)
Dear Father, here and now I submit to Your holy will. Have Your own way and fulfill Your agenda in my life. You know infinitely more than I do and will always choose the better path for me. Fit me for Your service and for heaven above. Amen.
"14 Roads You would Never Want to Drive On,” YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uq7mztW1knU