Monday, March 27, 2006

Another Voice - Yellow Lines

(Newspaper column for Letterkenny Post)

Funny old thing the lines on the road. You don’t miss them until you don’t have them. Take the road at the mountain top – It’s kind of tricky to negotiate those bends in the dark, especially with on-coming headlights to dazzle you. Without lines to tell us where the edge of the road is, you could end up in the wrong lane or demolishing an oversized ice-cream cone on the garage forecourt.

The other day, on another road, I saw a man who had needed lines to keep him right. He had missed a right hand bend and was sitting in the middle of a field bogged in to the axles.

We all need edges in life. We need direction, we need guidance otherwise we’ll end up away off course, hurting either ourselves or others, or getting nowhere. Thankfully, God has told us exactly what to do and where we need to go. He has given us the yellow lines for life. His 10 commandments show us how we should live, and His son said “I am the way … no-one comes to the father except by me” (John 14:6). Unless we follow this way, we’ll end up nowhere.

The thing is most people don’t like God’s yellow lines, or directions. They think that they can find their own way. I’d like to see them take the same approach to the guys that paint the yellow lines on the road!

“Hey you! Yes you with the yellow brush in your hand. What do you think you’re doing?”
“Just painting lines”
“What makes you think you can tell me where to go? What gives you the right? I’ll drive where I want”
The line painter shrugs his shoulders, and stands aside, “Whatever you say sir.’

So off he goes. Bouncing out across the fields, hurtling through hedges, demolishing crops, banging his head alternately off the steering wheel and then the roof, pursued by a horde of angry farmers. Eventually he collides with a tree, and in the wreckage of his smoking, battered car, he thinks proudly to himself, “Nobody will tell me where to go and how to get there.”

Yellow lines are for our benefit; we would do well to follow them. When God says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding; acknowledge him in all your ways and he will direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5,6), it is because he knows what is best for us.

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