There Is a Way
Chaplain Bill Wolfe
Hello, and welcome to February and the Chaplain’s Corner. February brings some mixed emotions for me this again this year as it seems it does every year. I’ll hit 57 on the 28th. For some reason, sixty doesn’t seem near as elderly as it did in the last century. “Last century!” Now that WILL make one feel old… “When were you born?” “Oh, middle of the last century.” <creak, groan, creak> Well, it’s not really that bad, and I don’t have enough voice to complain anyway.
This month’s illustration comes straight from the street… literally – I think it was about the 1300 block of Ford St. Now, I’ve seen the same thing lots of times on Sandstone and on Haynie and other places. I don’t know why this particular time it captured my attention. It was not a law enforcement action. It was a squirrel action. (I have a friend in the Galveston area who calls ’em “tree rats.”)
This particular red squirrel had no qualms about jay-running in front of the POleece. It launched itself off of the right curb and bounded across the first northbound lane and started into the second when it realized it was about to get hit. It did a back flip and started back for the curb only to see my big white CV bearing down, so it reversed directions again. As I looked in the mirror, the still-alive-squirrel was dodging yet another northbound vehicle and heading back to the curb from whence it came. Three brushes with death and still none the wiser for its experience, I’ll bet.
That’s when the Scripture came to mind from Proverbs 14:12: “There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” (NASB) I thought about that squirrel and its attempted dash on the pavement when it had a better way available to it, a “higher way,” namely the phone/power cables that cross above the traffic. Truly in this case there is a “right way” and a “wrong way.”
The above Scripture in Proverbs is part of a series of, shall we call them, “general observations” about life. Although preachers usually apply this Scripture to spiritual life and spiritual decisions (and it applies especially in those instances), as I thought about it, the observation is just as valid in a number of aspects of our lives. Out of curiosity, I grabbed my Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible and looked up the original word used in this particular verse. The word “death” here is the Hebrew word mâveth (pronounced “maw-veth”) and it means “death, deadly, or ruin.”
Religion in Policing
So what am I trying to say? We all make bad decisions from time to time and sometimes those decisions can be “fatal” – literally and figuratively speaking. For example: how many times have we passed in a no-passing zone while running hot and then kicked ourselves for taking the chance when we couldn’t see because of the hill or curve?
But – some of us make other decisions that “end in death” in the sense of “ruin.” At the time, sleeping with your friend’s wife seemed to be a “right” thing to do. But it will end in the death of their marriage as well as yours. It will be the death of friendships and possibly reputations, too. Giving in to the badge bunny or skimming a little weed from that bust may seem to be the right thing at the time, but it could be the death of your career.
Then, of course, there is the obviously wrong choice of suicide which ends in death, by definition, but it also ruins life for so many others.
As I was sitting here, I remembered the old joke: “Why did the chicken cross the road? To prove to the [pick one: toad/skunk/armadillo/squirrel] that it COULD be done.” Yes, the observation that there is a way that leads to death carries with it the implication that the converse is true as well: there IS a way that leads not to death or ruin – relationally, physically, or spiritually speaking.
Jesus came to be “like” the chicken in my goofy little joke. He came to show that there is a “way” that leads to blessings and spiritual life – eternal life in the very presence of God for all eternity – and that way is through Him… the “higher” and sometimes less obvious way. If we will take time to learn about God, to listen to His direction, submit our will to His, He will protect us from the ruin brought about by our making wrong decisions and help us make right ones.
Uh oh, I’m about to make us late again. Feel free to drop me an email if you want to talk more about it. Catch you again next time. Until then: blessings to you and yours.
Chaplain Bill firstname.lastname@example.org