By Johnny O. Trail — On I-24 going toward Clarksville between exits twenty-four and nineteen, there was an electric road sign that read “Rough Road Ahead.” This stretch of highway has been problematic for years. It continually washes out and needs constant patches and repairs. Suffice to say it is a very rough road—our vehicle’s suspension and tires can attest to that fact.
Would it not be nice if we had various road signs in our lives to warn of “Rough Roads Ahead”? In the lives of many, this would be a continual warning about situations they encounter down life’s pathway. What type of signs might one see in their travels? Of course, signs only work when they are read and heeded.
One sign might read “Rough Road Ahead—Suffering and Pain.”
Job was intimately acquainted with agony, depression, and bereavement. If sensual temptations were not enough, Satan creates painful situations of suffering that can cause one to question their Christianity. At some point, all people will face human suffering and pain. Even if it is not their own, suffering is hard to witness in the lives of people we love. Job’s resolve should be ours. Job says, in Job 13:15, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.” If we live long enough, all humankind is headed down the roadway of suffering and pain.
Pain and suffering can separate one from God, but His children tend to turn to Him more fervently when they struggle with such issues. Just like the Apostle Paul said in 2 Corinthians 12.10 “Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”
One electric road sign might say, “Rough Road Ahead—Sexual Immorality.”
So many people are choosing to live together before marriage and engage in fornication. The Bible makes it clear that people are to marry for the purpose of avoiding fornication. I Corinthians 7.1-2 “Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.” Many of society’s problems would be solved if people stopped/refrained from fornicating. There would be no abortion due to unwanted pregnancies. There would be no sexually transmitted diseases. There would be no adultery. Lives would not be ruined by the sexual choices that one makes. While the roadway traveled by those wanting sensual pleasure might seem appealing, its result is pain and suffering.
One sign might read “Rough Road Ahead—Marital Discord.”
People struggle with marital conflict in various forms. Suffice it to say, God wants His people to have good marriages. If we life sacrificially for our mates and they live for us in the same way, we will have good marriages. Serving our spouse is one way to avoid some of the major problems people face in marriage. Inasmuch as Christ was a servant, we need to possess the same attitude. Philippians 2.5-8 says, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” Many of the problems people face could be avoided if they followed the rule of putting others first in their lives. In this case, putting our spouses first can help solve some issues in marriage.
Still, another sign might say, “Rough Road Ahead—Parenting Problems.”
The amount of people who struggle with problems associated with children is great in our world. Parenting is not for the faint of heart or the cowardly. Parents sometimes seek counseling to understand how to cope with the decisions their children make. Satan is desperately trying to win the hearts of the young. Parents have to “fight with the devil” at times to make stands that are oftentimes unpopular with children. What we prioritize in our life provides an example to our children. Ephesians 6:4 says, “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”
Where there is conflict in parenting, try to maintain an “open door” policy. While the father in the parable of the Prodigal Son did not move to the foreign country to help his son engage in debauchery (Luke 15.13), he did leave things open for his return. Moreover, he continually searched for his son’s return to reason (Luke 15.20). When we close the doors upon those we love, we effectively kill any conversations that might result in reasonable change. This is not an attempt to argue for compromise in sinful situations, but a means of continuing dialogue with one who is potentially going to be lost if they do not change their way.
Another sign might state, “Rough Road Ahead—Eternal Destruction.”
In this case, “rough” might be a terrible understatement. The worst thing that can happen to a person is the loss of their soul in an eternity of punishment. Sadly, many people are going to be lost. Matthew 7:13-14 “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” One must realize this is a road of our own choosing—God does not want any person to be lost. 2 Corinthians 4:3-4 says, “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” The blood of Christ makes it possible for one to avoid this road (Romans 5.6-8).
Finally, God’s commandments are designed to make things better in this life and the one to come. While it is not always easy to obey God in a world laden in sin, it is for the best.
“By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous” 1 John 5.2-3.
Christians are not given rules to live by to ruin their fun, but to protect them from the physical and spiritual dangers that abound in our world.