Lord, I know that people’s lives are not their own;
it is not for them to direct their steps.
– Jeremiah 10:23
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
– Matthew 7:13-14
“The prophet here [in Jeremiah 10:23] turns to a figure of speech, which appears in the Scriptures so frequently that it is not easy to remember that it is but a figure. Man is seen as a traveler making his difficult way from a past that he can but imperfectly recollect into a future about which he knows nothing. And he cannot stay, but must each morning strike his moving tent and journey on toward – and there is the heavy problem – toward what?”
– A. W. Tozer, The Set of the Sail
I was blessed in that I am old enough to have driven down portions of I-95 when “South of the Border” billboards dominated the landscape. “South of the Border” still exists. According to Google Maps, the community around the amusement area is now considered South of the Border, SC. When I was at Army ROTC summer camp at Fort Bragg, it was simply the businesses along the interstate highway outside Dillon, SC. “South of the Border” gets its name for being just south of the North Carolina border in South Carolina. Get it? Now you can imagine what you would find there.
What I mean by domination is that when you were on US-1, headed north out of Key West, FL, one of the first billboards that you would see was a puny joke advertising “South of the Border”. Then as you transferred to I-95, the billboards were usually every ten miles or so, including one or two cautioning you to turn around, because you missed it (once you go into North Carolina). For other travelers, as you entered the US from New Brunswick, Canada onto I-95, one of the first billboards was about “South of the Border”. Again, many more through Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and on, and on for more than a thousand miles.
In recent years, I have not seen any “South of the Border” billboards.
Funny thing, other than stopping there because I ran out of gas once, I never fell prey to the advertisement hype to visit the amusement area.
What I, and my wife, fell prey to was Wall Drug in South Dakota. And yes, we each enjoyed the free ice water and my wife got her five cent cup of coffee as a veteran. (I don’t drink coffee and they offered no substitutes.)
Okay, if you do a lot of long treks along US highways, there will be tourist traps that advertise. You know that they are still ahead, and you are headed in that direction due to the constant bombardment of billboards. And yes, I feel that you should stop at one or two, even though they are rather cheesy.
What does this trip down memory lane have to do with the Scripture above?
There are other highways that get you to the northeast portion of this country or down into Florida, but if you are on those roads, you would miss the billboards for “South of the Border” entirely (if they still existed). Why? Because you are on the wrong road.
You head east on the interstate from near Mount Rushmore, you will see signs for Wall Drug, but if you first go south to Denver and then east across Kansas. There won’t be any signs for Wall Drug. You are on the wrong road.
We often get detoured in life. Our sin gets in the way, and we must find our way back onto the road.
But Tozer asks the eternal question. (Notice that I did not say million dollar question, for it is worth far more.) Toward what?
We must examine our hearts. We must commit ourselves, without reservation, to Jesus. And to learn which road to get on, we need to pray and spend time studying God’s Word. We need to trust the guidance of the Holy Spirit to show us that narrow path.
There will not be any gaudy billboards, cheesy puns, or animated sheep reminding you of where to sleep. There will simply be a soft voice saying, “Go down the right fork in the road. It may not look like much, but it smooths out later on.”
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.