Friday was the big day, the day when Cecil would finally ask me to marry him. He would have asked me much sooner, but I was determined that everything had to be perfect. No surprises here. This was an arranged event, so according to plan, we headed for Sedona, where beautiful red sandstone cliffs cast their shadow over that little city, and tourists from around the world come to see. We were late leaving the valley, but we figured we would be there by the middle of the afternoon.
Sedona was an easy two-hour drive north of Phoenix. Cecil wanted to propose in a pretty little park and take me to a special dinner at a nice restaurant. Then happy and satisfied, we would drive back to Mesa, and call everyone in the phone book to share our incredible news.
Cecil drove, and with map in hand, I was the self-appointed navigator, but you will remember that I am also a talker. Unfortunately, as we neared the turnoff from Highway 17, I was talking instead of navigating. We missed our road, but instead of turning around, and wasting precious time I found another road that would take us back to Sedona. We discovered immediately it was unpaved. However, it was only twelve miles, so that wouldn’t be a problem. Would it?
There were no signs, no warnings, and even the forest rangers, whom we met heading for the highway, only waved without bothering to tell us that the road we were on was impassable for any vehicle and especially so for a passenger car.
The next ninety minutes were spent trying to navigate this wilderness trail—one could hardly call it a road—without tearing out the car’s underpinnings. I had failed as navigator. Now all I could do was screech and wail, as Cecil tried to avoid great rocky drop-offs coming ever nearer to the side of the cliffs constantly scraping up against the dry thorny desert brush. I couldn’t be concerned about the well fare of the car. I was concerned about preserving our life. Of course, if you have the courage and the presence of mind to look, that route gives the best view of the world famous red sandstone cliffs.
The day was far spent by the time we arrived in Sedona, and I had learned a valuable lesson.
It is far better to turn around and correct your mistake than to take an unknown, untried route to your destination.
I was born with the wanderlust. “Going” is in my blood. I have had the great privilege of visiting thirty-four countries in our world, but there are still one-hundred sixty-three others that I have not yet experienced. It makes me sad to think that, for the most part, my traveling days around the world are probably over.
However, I am presently engaged in another journey, with which bad knees, sciatica, and needy family members cannot interfere.
Life is a journey designed by God before we were ever born—a journey with big rocks to climb, little ones to trip over, and milestones to mark where we have been. We all must make this journey no matter how bad the road and accommodations.
It would be great if the path meandered always through grassy meadows dotted with wildflowers and babbling brooks, but for the most part, life’s road winds uphill the whole long day. It is marked with adversity and seemingly impassable obstacles.
Often, in an effort to evade hardship and suffering, we find ourselves on a tawdry detour we have chosen hoping to find an easier way to our destination.
Detours will never get you there. They will only take you farther from your goal. When you find yourself on the wrong road, turn around. Turn around! Go back to the fork where you made the bad choice, and start again.
Proverbs 14:12 says, “There is a way that seems right to man, but its end is the way of death.”
In John 14:6, Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life…”
1 Peter 2:21 also tells us, “…Christ suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps.
There are those who tell us to live life on our own terms, go against the grain, take the road less traveled, but God’s word says, “ask for the old paths,” the tried and true paths.
You can choose your own path or you can choose to follow the footsteps of Jesus.
Our world is moving toward one God ordained event, the return of Jesus Christ, when history will be brought to a close, and life’s journey will be complete. John Peterson wrote:
Someday life’s journey will be o’er and I shall reach that distant shore,
I’ll sing while ent’ring heavens door “Jesus led me all the way.”
Jesus led me all the way, led me step by step each day;
I will tell the saints and angels as I lay my burden down
“Jesus led me all the way.”
Pray this prayer with me. “Teach me YOUR way, O Lord.”
Remember, the sun will come out tomorrow!