I can’t remember why, but I can remember where. I was traveling through Virginia when I came upon a road closure. Bright orange signs marked detour pointed in the direction I needed to go, to get where I was going. I watched as the other cars followed the sign and made the right turn, but I thought I knew better. I needed to go west, but the signs were pointing east. “There has to be a better way,” I thought to myself; so rather than taking the turn, I just turned around. I drove until I came to a road that was going my direction and took the turn off the main road.
It was afternoon, so it seemed a logical gamble for me to drive away from the sun. I figured if I took enough right turns, it would have to bring me out on the other side of the road closure and put me back on track. The reasoning seemed sound, but the outcome was far from reasonable. I traveled for a few miles before I came upon a right turn. The road I found seemed a little suspicious. It was marked as a state road, but it was unpaved and unkempt. My first thought was to keep going forward, but after a brief discussion with myself, we decided to take the chance.
The going was slow because the road was rocky and full of ruts. The further I went, the more aware I became that I was going nowhere and getting there fast. I thought about turning around, but the road was too narrow, and I couldn’t risk ending up stuck in a ditch. So, I drove on, hoping the road would eventually lead me somewhere. Like water in a desert–after quite some time–I thought I saw pavement ahead. When my front tires reached it and proved it to be more than a mirage, I was thrilled. I had two choices, right or left. Right was the right decision. I took the turn somewhat relieved and more thankful than ever for asphalt.
“Now,” I thought, “I’m back on track or at least heading in the right direction;” but oh, how wrong I was. I didn’t consider how far to the left the gravel road to the right had taken me. What I didn’t know was that the road I was on ended up nowhere near where I wanted to be. I knew something was wrong when my right-hand turn took a sharp left curve and started heading back down the mountain. This was before I had GPS on my phone. Honestly, I doubt any cellular driven GPS would have helped where I was anyway. When I started seeing road names like Squirrel Holler, Bear Foot Drive, and Possum Trot Lane leading off into the woods, I knew I was in trouble. I turned down my radio to see if I could hear any banjo music.
One might think, “Why didn’t you just turn around?” Trust me, I thought about it, but I had been driving for so long at that point I was too stubborn to turn back. Indeed, as I suspected, this road led somewhere. However, the somewhere it led was far below the somewhere I thought I was going. As the nose of my car continued rolling downhill, it dawned on me that whoever posted the detour sign knew more about how to get to my destination than I did.
A scripture I learned as a child came to mind. In Proverbs 16:25, Solomon wrote, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” It dawned on me that I thought I knew better than those who had mapped the detour, and now it was getting dark, and I was lost because of it. I’m afraid many people will realize, as I did, just how lost they are a moment too late. When the car started heading downhill, I knew I had missed my chance to turn around. I had followed the way that seemed right to me, and I wasn’t thrilled when I discovered where it led.
Is this not an allegory of the lives of lost men? God says go this way, but they choose to go another. Truthfully, men shouldn’t be surprised when they spend their whole lives driving away from the Son to, in the end, end up in the darkness. No one gets to write their own directions to Heaven, but that doesn’t seem to stop people from trying.
Has it ever occurred to you that maybe the best person to tell you how to get to Heaven is someone who has already been there? Jesus said I am the Way. He has mapped the road to Heaven in His own blood. There is no other way to get there than the way He has chosen. The only way to Heaven is following the Son. Following His directions, however, means more than just acknowledging His deity. It means driving the way He’s pointing.
Many think that because they “believe in God,” they have nothing to worry about. However, Bible straightforwardly states that demons believe in God, yet are not saved. What gives? Didn’t Jesus say believe in me, and you will have eternal life? He did, but we don’t. When Jesus said believe, He didn’t mean just to accept that He exists or that He came from Heaven. When Jesus said to believe, He meant to turn towards Him and put all your faith in Him and Him alone. Yet, if you asked many who claim to be Christians why they think they will be allowed into Heaven, they would respond, because I have tried to be good. What they tragically fail to realize is that their goodness will never be good enough.
Only Jesus is good enough for Heaven. Trying to get there any other way is not only dangerous; it is impossible. Narrow is the way that leads to life. If we could have been good enough, Jesus would not have needed to die. There is only one way into Heaven, which is through the work Jesus did on our behalf. I’m afraid that far too many admirable Americans have yet to understand this. They are lost in broad daylight and rolling quicker than they realize downhill toward the darkness.
The gospel is clear: Jesus Christ suffered for us and as us on the cross. He bore the penalty of our sin and offers us the provision of His goodness.
All who come to Him by faith, rejecting their goodness, and embracing His, are granted free and full access to the Father in Heaven.
All who refuse to come His way will certainly go their own way. Our own way will undoubtedly lead to darkness and death. I was lost in Virginia’s mountains and, thankfully, eventually found my way out. Still, I fear many are lost on the road of life and will one day be surprised to find that the direction they were heading didn’t take them where they thought they were going. The sad part is they are lost in broad daylight. God has posted clearly marked signs along the way; yet still, some believe they can devise better directions on their own. Friend, there is no better way to God than through Jesus. He is not just the right turn; He’s the only road that leads home.
In Christ Alone,
Pastor Benjamin Webb