Rough Road Ahead

Vol. 19 No. 25 | June 25, 2017

Rough Road Ahead

As we traveled recently we saw an electronic sign on the interstate with flashing lights warning “Rough Road Ahead.” The warning proved to be true and appreciated by some, while others chose to ignore the warning and kept right on moving at the same rate of speed.

Wouldn’t it be nice if life came with warnings like that? Wait, maybe it does.

You have your annual physical. Your doctor says, “You have gained some weight, your blood pressure is a bit elevated. I think we should put you on some medication. And you should lose some weight and get some exercise.” You respond with, “Thanks, Doc. I appreciate the suggestion.” You ignore his warnings, continue to eat the same foods, fail to exercise or lose weight, and the next thing you know you are in the emergency room with what appears to be a stroke.

You have been married for seven years and have two children. You live in a lovely neighborhood and both of you have demanding and high pressure jobs. The sky is the limit for both of you as you continue to work longer hours and miss more of your children’s activities. You see articles, hear sermons, and even have friends who tell you, “You better be careful!” You respond with, “Thanks, friend. I appreciate the suggestion, but we know what we are doing.” A free months later you call that same friend and say, “You were right. We’re in trouble.”

You notice a change in mood and attitude from your teenage daughter, but assume she is just being a teenager and let those warnings pass. A couple of weeks later you get a note from one of her teachers asking you to come in for a meeting. The teach tells you her grades have dropped and her whole disposition seems to have taken a negative turn. You thank her for her interest in your daughter but assure her that you know your daughter better that she does. A few more months pass and you get another call. This time from your daughter. She is at the police department. “Mom, I’ve been arrested.”

Your son is a great athlete. If he continues to grow and get stronger he will be a starter. He works hard and has a good change of a college scholarship. You push him hard. When he slacks off you push harder. Your wife tells you, “You push him too hard.” You ignore her and insist: “He’s just getting lazy! He’ll never make in college if he does not work harder!” In the middle of his senior season he disappears. After a desperate search you find him at a friends house. His explanation? “I just can’t do this any more!”

Were there warning signs? Sure there were, but you were too busy and moving too fast and making great time too slow down, so you ignore them. As a result people got hurt. Damage was done. Loved ones are now suffering.

The book of Proverbs (the entire Bible for that matter) is filled with warnings that help us avoid the rough roads ahead of us. Here are a few examples.

Don’t be afraid to correct your young ones;
a spanking won’t kill them.
A good spanking, in fact, might save them
from something worse than death. (Proverbs 22:22-23, The Message)

Don’t hang out with angry people;
don’t keep company with hotheads.
Bad temper is contagious—
don’t get infected. (Proverbs 22:24-25, The Message)

Do not wear yourself out to get rich;
do not trust your own cleverness.
Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone,
for they will surely sprout wings
and fly off to the sky like an eagle. (Proverbs 23: 4-5, NIV)

Don’t be afraid to correct your young ones;
a spanking won’t kill them.
A good spanking, in fact, might save them
from something worse than death. (Proverbs 23:13-14, The Message)

Do not testify against your neighbor without cause—
would you use your lips to mislead?
Do not say, “I’ll do to them as they have done to me;
I’ll pay them back for what they did.” (Proverbs 24:28-29, NIV)

One of my high school teachers often said, “A word to the wise is sufficient.” She was right. Call them warnings, good advice, or wise suggestions they are there to help us avoid the rough roads ahead of us. Pay attention. Heed the warnings. 

Tom

A Norvell Note © Copyright 2017 Tom Norvell All Rights Reserved.

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