Saturday, February 9, 2013

Following the 'Straight and Narrow" in the Land of Winding Roads

photo courtesy of Jesse Briles
photo courtesy of Jesse Briles
New Zealand has an abundance of many things: fertile farmland, sandy coastlines, clever people, entrepreneurial opportunities, pukekos and possums.  The list goes on.  What is lacking however, are straight lines.  Due to the mountainous terrain, you’d be hard pressed to find many roads that travel in a straight line for more than a few kilometres.  An atlas looks more like the frantic scribblings of a toddler than an actual road map.  For the passenger prone to motion-sickness, what would otherwise be a picturesque drive through the countryside is reduced to an agonizing battle with nausea.  With each swerve of the car, the body leans and turns to accommodate the force of gravity, as do the remains of your last meal.  (But please don’t let my ramblings deter you from visiting me in beautiful  Aotearoa!)

I find that any and everything in God’s great world has the capacity to be substance for teaching us of His greatness and His great calling. What are the winding roads of New Zealand teaching us?  If they could speak perhaps they would repeat the words of their Creator, “Small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” (Matthew 7:13) They might paraphrase by saying (in a tone almost reminiscent of “Lord of the Rings”), “Good luck on finding the ‘straight and narrow’ out here.  Its gate is hidden somewhere deep beneath this mountain on which you stand, and the only one who knows its secret location is the King.  Your only hope is to have an audience with the King. ”

Isn’t that the truth?  God is the King.  God knows the tantalizing distractions that present themselves at  every bend in life’s road, turning our eyes from side to side making us sick. He gets it.  He knows that it is difficult for the 13 year old to stay away from drugs when substance experimentation is nearly a rite of passage.  He knows that alcohol abuse and course speech are just considered part of what it means to be a Kiwi.  He knows that Kiwi society doesn’t expect marital faithfulness, and therefore many don’t even bother. And He knows that these things make us sick, really sick. God also knows this:
There is another way.

 “Small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”
There is another way.

And what’s more, all those people who are finally ‘sick’ of being sick on the winding roads of life. . . Well, they are the ones that get an audience with the King.  But how do they possibly get access to the King, when He dwells in the purest realm where the unclean doesn’t even survive the journey to his throne room?  Here’ s the secret:  the King will give you a hearing on one condition:  that his Son has sent you in.  He’ll do anything for His Son, so if you come in the name of his Son Jesus Christ. .. you’re in!
Once you’re in you find that the he himself is the gatekeeper!  He opens wide that narrow gate that leads to the path of life and those that tread upon it find that the straight and narrow is remarkably spacious and full of freedom! 

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