Finding vital connections in road construction zones

Even though the calendar declares we’re still solidly in the middle of winter, I doubt I’m the only one dreaming of carefree, adventurous summer road trips. Driving on the open road instills a sense of freedom and escape, not easily recreated when we’re homebound during cold, snowy winter months.

During previous summers I have found myself behind the wheel – driving to Mt. Rushmore, driving to visit grandparents in Idaho, driving to getaway destinations. And while hot, sunny summer months are excellent times to travel, hot, sunny summer months are also excellent times for road construction. Detour signs, reduced speed zones, pilot cars, and orange cones litter highways and byways during these high-travel months. While the “Road Construction Next 43 Miles” signs frequently impede, frustrate and infuriate drivers’ progress, something far more challenging, far more dangerous actually awaits unknowing travelers.

Newly-paved, resurfaced roads, with all hindrances removed, all equipment eliminated, all construction complete, except for the final painting of lines and posting of signs, pose great problems for eager drivers. No matter how wide, no matter how smooth, no matter how straight the new road is, without the posted signs and painted lines, disoriented drivers wander, weave and even wreck.

So too are our lives without a vital connection to God. We desperately need the boundary markings which offer definition, limits and expectations, delineating between safety and peril, security and pitfalls. God’s Word guides and confines, and even if our designated lane is narrow or restricted, the defining boundaries enable ease of travel. As we face challenging decisions, unsure which route to take, we look toward the posted signs, best discovered in His instruction guide.

As potholes of life threaten, the Holy Spirit pilots us along different routes, instructing through warning signs, and inspired spoken words. As our soul connects with the Spirit, God directs our steps, speaking to and guiding us along His intended path. “Stop at the crossroads and look around,” God says. “Ask for the old, godly way, and walk in it. Travel its path, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Jeremiah 6:16)

Speed zones, which cause us to slow down, often to annoyingly minimal speeds, are our quiet, prayerful, meditative times with the Lord. When driving along a familiar route at slower speeds, we notice what we have often overlooked at normal break-neck rates. We’re given opportunity to reflect, think and focus. With attention diverted from the destination, we are forced to enjoy the scenery and journey. Isn’t it ironic that the busier we are, the more we need to connect with God, and yet, the more resistant we are to slowing down in the speed zones?

Roadside reflectors shining even on the darkest nights keep travelers on the right route. So too do the relationships we enjoy in community with one another. The Christian life is not meant to be lived alone, anymore than roads should be traveled without necessary guideposts. In community we are encouraged, supported, challenged and held accountable. And we in turn do the same with others. When we worship, serve, love, pray, and live together in community, our personal experience is enhanced, others are blessed and God’s Kingdom is brought to earth.

As much as we may long for boundless choices and unrestricted living, instinctively we know true freedom and peace is found within guidelines and parameters. Our lives are truly less about the final destination, and more about the journey. As frustrating as construction zones may be, they are preferable to unmarked roads. As you dream about your next summer adventure, and prepare yourself to encounter the inevitable construction zones, consider how, even today, you might rethink and welcome the boundary lines, potholes, speed zones and reflectors.