I had just dropped the kids off at Art Camp and was headed home to get to work. As I drove, I noticed something about the driver in front of me. I actually first noticed him while I waited at a stop sign just moments before. As he approached on the road I was waiting to turn onto, I observed him looking intently down every side street he passed, including the street I was waiting on. I turned right behind him, and his pattern continued. But it wasn’t just every street – it was every building or shopping center that was set back away from the main thoroughfare as well. His intentional and intense study of every street and more distant building gave me the impression that he was looking for a turn he was supposed to make. Yet his speed never wavered and he never acted like he needed to make a turn. It was a strange combination of certainty in his path and intense observation of every other path he encountered.
I don’t know what the driver’s destination was. I ended up making a left turn at the next light while he went straight. But, I couldn’t help but wonder:
Was he really trying to figure out where he was going, but his solid driving skills kept him from being a problem for other drivers?
Was he new to the town and just trying to get a feel for his surroundings?
Was looking down every side street just an unconscious habit of his?
Whatever the case, I couldn’t help but notice that although his vehicle continued to drive straight ahead, his attention was more focused to one side or the other than it was on his own path. And then, as typically happens, I couldn’t help but apply that thought to my own life. Sometimes it would be nice to not be a "word picture" learner. Too many natural events in life end up convicting me!
In this particular instance, I thought about the path of my life. I’m destined for heaven and eternity with Christ. Period. Nothing can take that away from me. Nothing can move me from that path. It is my destination.
I look down those side streets a lot. Although they might not be side streets of what our culture deems "big" sins, can we really say that one side street is more dangerous than another? What about the side street that lacks discipline? That’s the one that really gets me. I’ve shared many, many times how I struggle with discipline in so many areas. What happens when I stare too intently down that street?
Yes, I’m still on the road to eternity with Christ. But, I’m so distracted when I allow my attention to be drawn away to this side street or that. I might look like I’m traveling well down the path, but I’m not really focused on the discipline necessary to do more than drive down the road. And the journey ends up lacking a lot of its joy and delight. Why? Because I’m depending on those side streets to provide my diversions, my laughs, and my entertainment.
All that we need exists right in front of us on this path to eternity. In fact, this road is so full of wonders that we could never begin to exhaust them, even were our earthly lives to last a thousand years! But, we miss so much because we are fascinated with those side streets. We might not waver in our traveling. We might never even be a danger to anyone else along the way. But, our hearts and minds are divided, and we are more tuned to seeing what’s on the side streets – all of the things we’re bypassing by staying on this road – that we miss the true, deeper delights that are right in front of us.
Oh that we would keep our eyes on the road. What an amazing reward we would find, even in the midst of the journey, if we would do so!