What To Do So You Don’t Cause a Wreck On The Dark Interstates of Life
Isaiah 50 says: Who among you fears the Lord and obeys the voice of his servant? Let him who walks in darkness and has no light trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God. Behold, all you who kindle a fire, who equip yourselves with burning torches! Walk by the light of your fire, and by the torches that you have kindled! This you have from my hand: you shall lie down in torment.
I know people that can’t trust anyone around them. They live in a world of hurt. Answers bring no comfort because they don’t know if they’re true. Words of kindness might be masked attempts to try to get them to reveal something that could be used in a malicious way. The street that connects all of these seemingly prejudicial circumstances is the unknown. It adds up to a path of obscurity and unending shadows. No one is there to help.
Satan wants to keep us covered in shadows. His presence is very real, and we sense it more when we feel we’re in one of those times when everything seems mired in a blackout of concealment. In certain areas of California, there is fog that hangs so thick, you can’t see ten feet in front of your car. On stretches of interstate where, at certain times of the year, the fog is thickest and sits in hanging patches, a highway patrolman will drive in the middle of the road at a very slow rate with all of his flashers on to guide people through to where it is clear.
Unfortunately, too many people think they can navigate those stretches at those times by themselves. There is story after story of crashes because cars suddenly appear out of nowhere in the fog and it’s too late to stop.
I remember driving back from Canada in October 2006. It was a Friday night at about 12:30 in the morning when we crossed the border outside of Buffalo. It was snowing so hard, I could barely see. So what did I do? I parked myself behind a big semi whose taillights I could see through the snow and darkness and followed that truck all the way to Erie, Pennsylvania where the snow started to dissipate. But for those three hours of slow driving and uncertain conditions, I didn’t move from behind that truck, even as other people were bold enough to drive faster through that snow.
In those really dark places, sometimes we are lucky enough to have a guide. We are lucky enough to be able to follow someone who knows how to navigate the treacherous. They’ve been through it before. They have stories to tell of the unfortunate. They may have scars to show how it wasn’t always so easy for them. But, I guarantee, even though they’ve been through it before, each time they go through it again, it’s still frightening because there are still a lot of unknowns: the people unwilling to wait or follow, nature’s unintended and unforeseen interventions, or our reaction time to the obstacles that come out of nowhere.
It’s usually not a patch of fog or a snowstorm. It’s life and all of its unintended interventions that quickly dim the lights on our road ahead. When it gets so dark that you can feel the blackness, we have a choice: we can slow down and trust that the Lord will lead us out of the confines of that painful reality, or we can forge ahead at a faster rate, believing that the faster we go, the faster we’ll get through it. Yes, it may work, sometimes, but the Lord promises us that the more we rely on our quick actions and unending ego-charged synapses, the harder the crash will be when we hit that limit we don’t see.
There’s only so much concentration that we can devote to forging ahead by ourselves. Eventually, we’ll have maxed out our response time and attention span. When your hand is gripped so tightly to the steering wheel and you’re so focused on seeing just a few feet in front of you, and you’re trying to calibrate yourself so you don’t slide off the road, you don’t have much left. We miss the periphery, and that is where Satan waits. It’s at those times that we’ll hit what Satan patiently waits to place in our path, knowing that he has wore us down by our own pride and selfish perseverance.
What does it look like when we forge ahead? We’re spiritually alone. We don’t believe anyone else can help, so we turn inward, searching for strength, focus, and composure to go even faster, expecting to be able to handle whatever comes at us. We’ve turned away the good advice for our own bad advice. We rationalize the patterns of self-ruggedness, believing it will make us stronger and that we can will the outcome to be what we want it to be. That should be a great warning sign that our trust and our faith have wavered, when we push everyone and everything out of the way to go it alone.
The other side of it is to take to heart the word of the Lord, that when we make those torches to light our own path, eventually we’ll get used to our own light and what it illuminates, and we’ll miss what we are hoping to see. We can buy brighter headlights, better brakes, and all of the other things we can equip ourselves with, but when our spiritual and physical resources are played out, the stuff we’ve geared up is just another set of things to worry about failing.
Whose light are you trusting? We are reminded that Christ came into the world to be the Light of the World. Why not let His light guide your way? Why not let God raise up a guide for you? When darkness comes, don’t rush ahead. Find your guide to keep you steady until you are out of danger. It works. Amen.