There are so many twists and turns on this journey we call life. Many we can see from afar, and we can prepare ourselves for that bend in the road, for the hill that looms ahead. Many, however, are hidden from our view and come upon us most unexpectedly--the sudden drop-off that takes away our breath, the hidden curve in the road that turns all so quickly, the pothole that is underneath our feet before we can adjust.
The obstacles are a part of the journey. We can make every effort to become more diligent, and many of these hazards before us can be spotted before they bring us a great challenge, but there will always be some difficulties for which we are unprepared.
Life is not always a bed of roses, there will always be thorns in the mix. You've heard the proverb, or a variation of it. I've had my share of thorns, and I know you have, too.
The pothole in the road ahead does not stop us from journeying on, does it? The thorn in the midst of the roses does not keep us from enjoying the sweet smell, does it?
My point? We keep on despite the difficulties that lie ahead and the hidden hazards that threaten. We keep on because we know that there is a way ahead, a passage past the hard times, a broad and level road beyond the twisting and turning and stead path we tread on today.
I am reminded of the Israelites. The Lord freed them from a life of captivity in Egypt, promising them a land "flowing with milk and honey." But, the land of Canaan was not adjacent to Egypt. A vast and threatening desert separated the two lands. Into this wilderness, God led his people. At every turn, there was an obstacle to overcome--lack of food and water, enemies, heat, self-doubt, pagan influences. Many succumed to the threats. Indeed most died in the desert without ever seeing the land to which God was bringing them.
We must keep going, going over and around and even through the hazards that stand before us. We can come to the end of our journey, no matter how twisting and turning our way, because we are not alone.
Jesus told his disciples, "In this world you will have trouble, but be brave! I have defeated the world" (John 16.33, NCV).