Have you ever made a wrong turn in your life? There are very few things more frustrating than making a wrong turn, especially when it happens in an unknown city and when we are in a hurry.
This has happened a few times and it has never been a pleasurable experience. I consider myself to be pretty good with addresses and directions (driving expertise is another matter), so when I make a wrong turn my sadness and level of frustration is doubled.
A few days ago, we made a wrong turn in Miami’s heavy and aggressive traffic. This minor turn or deviation from our route turned (pun intended) five minutes into an hour. I was angry as we made more U turns than a flip flop politician.
Wrong turns can sometimes be a blessing. I have learned to contain my ire in situations that are out of my control (by the way, very few things are under my control), knowing that “…that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). Wrong turns, “accidents” and other delays may very well have been ordained by God to save us from dangers and situations that we may never know about.
There are wrong turns, however, that can lead us straight into danger and destruction. Making a wrong turn in a highway is painful and frustrating, but making a wrong turn in life---no matter how small it might be---can be disastrous.
The Bible is full with examples of people that made a wrong turn. Some of them recovered by God’s grace, but some turned away from God forever (1 Timothy 1:19-20).
Adam turned to the wrong tree (Genesis 3:2-6)
The prophet Jonah turned in the opposite direction of God’s command (Jonah 1:3)
Aaron turned to gross idolatry (Exodus 32:1-6)
Samson turned after evil and dangerous women (Judges 14:1; 16:1-4)
The wise and holy Salomon turned out to be an idolatrous fool (1 Kings 11:1-11)
Many “believers” turned away from Jesus (John 6:66)
Only God’s grace can turn the crooked or cold heart back to Him. He did so with Abraham, after he went down to Egypt; with David, after the Bathsheba incident; with Peter, after the three denials and with the Prodigal Son, after he spent his inheritance in all sorts of debauchery.
There are many more biblical examples of men and women that turned away from, or unto God. I want to add my name to that list. My name will never be written in the Bible, but it has been inscribed in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
I have tried to turn away from God sometimes, or at least to turn away from a life of obedience and holiness, but my God turns my heart to Him over and over again. He will do the same for you, but if you can avoid wrong turns, even better!
Last Friday night, a team of Suwannee High School teachers defeated two other teams en route to be crowned champions of the “Bro-Ball” Volleyball Tournament. It was a great victory for this group of middle age (and beyond) educators, especially because we defeated our younger and definitely more athletic students.
It was also a costly victory for some of us. The “veteran” team went home joyous but in great pain. In my case, I finished the game hurt and I limped and hobbled around the house the rest of the weekend. If you ask me, I rather win and experience some pain and discomfort, than to be a relaxed and comfortable loser.
We have been called to walk in the Narrow Way (Matthew 7:13-14) that is filled with shadows and dangers (Psalm 23:4). We live in a dark world that only offers persecutions and tribulations for Christians (John 16:33), but we are “more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (Romans 8:37).
The Christian life is very costly. It was costly to the Father for “He…did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all” (Romans 8:31). It was also extremely costly to the Son, who gave his life (John 6:51) on the cross for his people.
Jesus paid it all in order for us to have a wonderful and comfortable life, free of stress, pain, suffering, poverty, sickness or death…in heaven. One day, all of these things will disappear forever as we enter through the gates of glory, but for now we must walk with our Lord, enduring all the trials and tribulations, knowing that heaven is waiting for us.
There have been many costly or Pyrrhic victories in this world, and not only in sporting events, but in deadly wars. The United States alone, has lost almost three million people in all their wars; the deadliest being the Civil War and World War 2. The Civil War was fought to preserve the Union and it accomplished its goal, but it was very costly: Over a million Americans died fighting against each other.
If the Union of a country and the peace of the world are important enough to go to war, how much more should we Christians be willing to lay down our lives for the cause of Christ? Nothing is more costly in this world than being a disciple of Christ.
Esther put her life on the line to save her people (Esther 4:16)
King David did not offer free or cheap sacrifices (2 Samuel 24:24)
The apostles left everything behind to follow Jesus (Matthew 19:27)
You and I have been called to follow Christ, but only after we deny ourselves and take up his cross (Luke 9:23). The Christian calling is very costly because it demands complete obedience and for us to “put to death the deeds of the body” (Romans 8:13). The price is high, but our eternal prize will be glorious.