The Road that Leads Home
by: Valerie Grande
Luke 15:11-13, “And he said, a certain man had two sons: and the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living. And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country…”
I absolutely love road trips! There is nothing better than getting behind the wheel of a car – Starbucks and GPS in hand (you don’t want to get lost) – and just driving…and driving…and driving.
A man once said, “When all is said and done, all roads lead to the same end. So it’s not so much which road you take, as how you take it.” There is even a movie and a song entitled “All Roads Lead Home.” While that is an encouraging and inspiring thought, it is not altogether true. Not any road I get on will take me home.
About a year ago, I made a 6-hour drive to visit a friend out of state. While, on that drive, I took extra care to make sure I took the right exits and merged onto the correct freeways; otherwise, instead of ending up in Evansville, Indiana, I would have found myself in Illinois or Kentucky. Of course, I had the option of taking any way I chose but had I done that the road would not have led me “home.”
As young adults, it is easy to think that no matter what choices we make, in the end, we will always end up “home” in God’s will. We don’t need the advice and counsel of those who have traveled before us. We don’t need a GPS (The Bible) to guide us; to tell us when we need to “recalculate.” We think we have this whole life thing figured out. That, “I’m going to do this my way, because ‘Hey! All roads lead home.’” doesn’t work. This is not how God intended it to be. We ALL need direction as to which “roads” to take.
Because of my love for driving, I love pictures of roads. My favorites are the country roads that wind and curve. While I do NOT like to be the passenger, I think they make the best pictures. The following are three practical road facts that can be applied to the life choices we make.
1. Roads are one-directional. If I am driving on a freeway or even a one-way street, I cannot just stop, turn my car around, and start driving in the opposite direction. Nor can I decide to do some “off-roading” because I am tired of going straight. I can’t do that. Well, maybe I could, but I would probably cause an accident or ruin whatever vehicle it is that I’m driving. I would most definitely get a ticket.
The same concept goes with the choices we make. They are one-directional. Good or bad, right or wrong, I can’t have both. I have to pick one. Whichever I choose, I am now committed to it and the outcome it produces. Because of this, I had better choose carefully; otherwise, I run the risk of “causing an accident” by hurting myself and the people around me. While I may not get a “ticket,” the events that take place will be with me and will mark me for the rest of my life.
2. Roads have a speed limit. Everywhere we go we are told how fast or how slow to go. While all of us, myself included, don’t always abide by these limits and maybe tend to stretch them just a bit, they are still there…every 5 to 10 miles or so – staring us in the face. So, when we get pulled over, we have no excuse. We knew the truth, yet we chose to ignore it.
God gives us limits in our life. Starting from the beginning with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, God put a “speed limit” in their life. Genesis 2:16-17 says, “And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it…” God told Adam and Eve that they could eat whatever they wanted, so long as it was not from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. What did they do? They ate of it.
God also gives us limits and boundaries in the Bible. They aren’t written in some secret code but are written in a way that anyone can understand them. It’s like my dad always says, “Put the peanut butter on the bottom shelf where everyone can get it.” Just follow the directions, read the road signs, or for the sake of my point, watch your speed.
As young adults, we sometimes choose to ignore the speed limit. “I know how fast I can go.” “I know when to slow down and proceed with caution.” “It’s my life…I’ll do what I want with it.” Sure, life is good; smooth sailing. Open roads for as far as the eye can see, and then out of nowhere (and they always come out of nowhere) when we least expect it, you hear sirens, look in your rearview mirror, and you’re caught. Let’s follow the speed limit while we still have the potential of a wonderful, “ticketless” Christian life.
3. Roads have a destination. The road you’re taking is going to lead you somewhere. Whether or not it takes you to where you want to end up is entirely up to you. The outcome of your trip is determined by the roads/choices you make. Strive to make wise choices by seeking God’s will through wise counsel, prayer and God’s Word. Psalm 37:23-24 says, “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand.”
We began with the story of the prodigal son. He chose to take his inheritance and “hit the road”. Sadly, the road he took ended with him alone, in utter poverty, and away from his father – out of God’s will. I’m sure there were “exits” he could have taken, “detours” and even a few spots where he could have made a U-turn. Yet, he chose not too, and, in the end, we find him eating and living in a pigsty.
My favorite part of this story is when he comes to his senses and remembers that he has a place to where he can go home. I imagine him cleaning himself up, maybe scrounging up a few coins to take a decent bath and make himself look presentable…he’s going home. I imagine him going to where he hid his few possessions. Perhaps he had put them out of sight because he did not want to be reminded of the failures and mistakes he made. I then imagine him digging around until he finds what he’s looking for…his roadmap home. He doesn’t look at it because he’s forgotten the road home (I think he always knew where it was). He looks for it because he needs the assurance that it is there. He does have that option. He can go home! I’m sure the moment his feet touched the road, he was filled with the happiness that only comes when you are going back to where you belong. Going home!
While I love to travel and go to new places, there is nothing that brings more joy to my heart than when I get on the road that leads home. Let me encourage you to always strive to make the right choices. There will be traffic, there will be alluring attractions on the way, and you may even need to “recalculate” a few times, but as long as you’re following your GPS (the Bible) it will be okay.
Turn on your GPS, punch in your destination – God’s will – and follow the directions all the way to the end. At the end of the day, there is absolutely no better feeling than knowing that you are right where you are supposed to be…home in God’s will.