The Road Ahead
“Ahead.” Interesting word. Especially for one whose brain is fascinated with the road beyond the windshield. In addition, I confess—I’m a planner.
“Ahead” has a bit of an interesting connotation for me. As a youngster of 5 – 6 years old, I was in that process of learning the alphabet and beginning my reading. My father moved to a pastorate in a small town close to the rural area where he was born. The church was situated along a highway that ran through the town. A few yards north of the church on that highway was a sign, “Stop Ahead”. It’s strategic position there gave drivers the notice that there was a flashing red light just up the road where another highway intersected. I remember in those young years, as my brain wrestled to make sense of the letters of the alphabet, phonetics, words, and meanings, I looked many times at that combination of letters in the word “ahead”. Why were these letters put together like this? How do you pronounce that word? For the longest time that word on that sign baffled me. There came the day, however, that the light came on! I got it! I understood what it said and then later I got the why of its strategic placement.
The day. The week. The month. The quarter. The next six months. The next year. We may think all kinds of things as related to that word. Today’s agenda, the next meals, the wardrobe for coming purposes and events, planting with the objective of harvesting at select times, next books and articles to be read, the upcoming servicing of the vehicle, vacation plans, and so many more.
Of course, our lives are part of our broader milieu. Besides our personal lives, we contemplate the road ahead for our family; our church (local and denominational); organizations and causes in which we have vested interests; our town, city, community; our state, our nation, our world.
We just returned from some weeks away from our normal routines.
Our vacation included time with family and attending our denomination’s global assembly. Perhaps my thoughts are drawn toward “the road” and the “ahead” after I drove more than five thousand miles. On the road, while covering those miles that accumulated more and more, I was continually focused on the road ahead with the particular daily destination goals; of course, I was quite aware of the “trail” we had covered.
In life, history communicates to us from the road behind. Then comes focus for the ribbon of road ahead. Life takes shape as we apply lessons from history and assimilate those along with current experience. All of this becomes more valuable as we seek guidance from our heavenly Father. Wisdom writers from the holy Scriptures give us a vital maxim: The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Ps. 111:10; Prov. 1:7; 9:10).
I contemplated. That highway sign of my childhood brain wrestlings was strategically situated to give vital assistance to drivers for the safety of all in their vehicles for what was just “ahead”.
In my ponderings, I considered the experiences of those in the Wheaton College spiritual awakening of which I shared in the previous post. There is something unique about an authentic visitation of God into our human experience. Those to whom God spoke about the sins of their lives that needed forgiveness would never forget that experience. God spoke; they responded. That marker on their life journey was Creator-Redeemer granted as guidance for the “ahead” of each of their lives.
Off the vacation trail of those many miles . . .
I sat this guy down(ok, that would be me), and engaged him with some thoughts that I consider strategic for the trail “ahead”. I actually was pondering under the idea of life-building. As a Christ-follower, this latter term for me is inextricably intertwined with matters of spiritual transformation and formation.
I really am not particularly in a preachy mode as I write—not just now, at least! J But as I continue to ponder life, I believe questions strategically asked in the now can influence “the road ahead.” So, I direct them to my life. If you find them, even some of them, useful to your life, go ahead, place them in your journal and apply them for life-building benefit. I will ask them as second person—the you talking to me.
We all have opportunity to ponder these questions:
- How do you contemplate life under the all-knowing awareness and all-seeing eye of the Almighty?
- How are you navigating your life in regard to God’s view of it?
- What is the position of your life in relation to the holy Scriptures?
- How do you seek to incorporate the principles and truths of the Scriptures in your walk moving forward?
- What disciplines, including thought life, are you implementing that build strength into your soul?
- What attitudes and practices weaken your inner being, and consequently sabotage your usefulness to God and His shalom Kingdom?
- How do you start each day? Seeking Father and His guidance? Seeking the perspectives and attitudes that will build strength of character for today and for the journey ahead?
- What are priorities for thought, reading, reflection, and action—those that spiritually form life today as well as the road ahead?
- What attitudes, practices, disciplines are you intentionally implementing today that several years from now you will be grateful they you initiated and continued?
- Do you maintain a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men (Acts 24:16, KJV) as a vital component of inner shalom?
- Are you a shalom Kingdom disciple?
- Do you seek to promote the Kingdom of God in the here and now? Are you involved in assisting others onward and upward in the ways of His Kingdom?
- Do you take responsibility for stewarding the earth as a gift from the Father’s hand?
- Are you living today in alignment with the Father’s heart so that at any moment of the call from this present world, you can enter “the next chapter” with pure joy?
The shalom life.
It engages us in the now—and for the journey ahead!