Saturday, October 4, 2014

Looking Toward Danger

The gravel road that runs from the house to the barn veers off just past half-way. The branch leads to the cattle gap and across that to a state highway and traffic. Maggie the Wonder Dog made a foray or two down that road when she was younger. Thankfully, she has since learned that the road leads only to danger (and will get her in trouble with her mama, too!) and stays away from it.

Every once in a while, though, she pauses at the crossroad and looks longingly down the hill. I'm not sure what makes that road seem so enticing, but sometimes she takes a step or two in that direction.  Usually, she glances back at me after those first tentative steps and turns around when she hears my firm, "No."  

This morning, she paused for the longest time, just looking down the road. I wondered what she was thinking and decided I probably knew. "Maggie," I called, "Don't even look.  Come on back now."  Slowly, she gazed at me for a long moment and headed back to the barn. 

I can't let her go to the highway, but I certainly understand the draw she feels. What is it about dangerous choices, those bad choices that can bring more consequences than we would want to consider, much less experience, that makes them so enticing? Why is it that, years after we have left the land of destruction, the road there still holds just a little attraction? 

That first tentative step, the one that leads away from safety and toward destruction, is the hardest one and the greatest battle. One step, though, easily leads to two, and before you know it, the highway looms just ahead. Your path may not lead to hedonism or substance abuse, but it may lead to bitterness, unforgiveness, or some other sin from which you have struggled to be free. How foolish it is to regain our chains, but how easy it is to do that very thing!

When that crossroad seems to beckon, do what Maggie does. Stop, take a look back, and listen to the Still Small Voice calling you to safety. Don't just listen, friend, listen and obey. 

Your ears will hear a word behind you, "This is the way, walk in it," whenever you turn to the right or to the left. (Isaiah 30:21 NASB)