I shouldn’t have been surprised…but still, I was. We all should have known it was going to happen. It seems it always does. What I’m referring to is people driving around road closed barriers and then ending up stuck in a washout, their vehicle being swept off the road by flood waters, etc. Yes, the same thing happened last spring when there was flooding…and before that it always happens every winter when the Interstate, or some other roads are closed because of ice, drifts, or hazardous conditions. There are always a few people who decide to ignore the signs and drive on the roads anyway. Then the natural consequences of their actions come into play and they end up disabled or stranded on the roadway.
There’s been the usual comments on Facebook and other social media sites, people angered over the arrogance and carelessness of others for going around the barricades. I’ll admit, I thought some of the same things. You see, part of the outcry is, it’s one thing to endanger or be reckless with your own life, but when you endanger the lives of others…including the first responders that have to come rescue you, that changes things up a bit. That puts one’s actions in a different light, or so it would seem.
I understand how the thought process goes for those who go around the barriers. “The water doesn’t look that deep. It’s not moving very fast. My car is a lot heavier than water, so I’ll be fine. It will only take a couple seconds and then I’ll be to the other side. I’ve seen other people do it…so I can make it too. I don’t have time to find another way around. If there’s a problem I can just jump out of the car and wade the rest of the way.”
Yes, if we’re honest, we all know how the thought process goes. Because the truth is…we all do the same thing. We all go around the barricades that are put up for our protection. Some of you are thinking, “Nope…never done that, pastor.” Well, I’m not just talking about barricades on the road due to flooding. I’m talking about other barricades on the journey of life and faith.
Some people refer to the Bible as a “guidebook.” I personally view the Bible as being God’s Word for us, and yes it does provide guidance, but to me it’s more than a guidebook. God’s Word is filled with wisdom, direction, encouragement, and at times even warnings. The 10 Commandments in the Bible weren’t given to make life difficult for people, they were given to make life better. The intent is to help a person choose a better path for life and for healthier relationships. Throughout the Bible, Old or New Testament, there are all sorts of “instructions” given to guide us in a positive direction in life. At times we see those instructions for living and too often we think, “I know better…I’m going to do it my way.” Or “Doesn’t apply to me…I can do it anyway.” Or “It’s not that big of a deal…I can handle it.” Then we go around the barricade God put in place, natural consequences begin to occur, and the next thing you know, we’re in trouble and calling out for help.
I shake my head when I see people intentionally ignoring safety signs put in place for their protection. But then I also realize that God shakes his head when I ignore the safety signs put in place to help me navigate the challenges of life and faith. Forgive me Lord. Help me understand that the safety signs you put in place are really there to help me. And God…thank you for always being there when in my self-inflicted distress, I too, call out for Help! God, keep nudging me to choose the better path you’ve provided for me.