Choosing the Right Road

 I had taken my nephew, Karl Kutz, with me to hunt for deer on a cold, wintry November day. Karl, who is now “Dr. Kutz,” a professor at Multnomah School of the Bible, was in high school at the time.  At one point in our hunt we decided to separate. I showed Karl where to hike to be sure he made it back to where our Jeep Wagoneer was parked. Soon after we separated, I spotted a nice mule deer which I started following. It took me in a direction I had not explored in that area before. I finally had a shot at the deer and got it, dressed it out and, not knowing for sure where I was, decided to bone it out, wrap the meat in the hide and drag it on the snow until I came to a road. I wasn’t sure what road it was that I hit or where it would lead me for sure but began walking in the direction, which according to my compass, I should go. Knowing Karl was probably waiting for me and worried about me, I walked as fast as I possibly could in the deep snow on the road. After about an hour, I came to a fork in the road. Now what?  I remembered Yogi Berra’s advice: “If you come to a fork in the road, take it.” Well, that helped a lot!  I decided to stay to the right and another hour later I spotted the Jeep. PTL!  Karl was sitting inside, but I had forgotten to show him where I had hidden the key so he couldn’t start the Jeep to keep warm and was very cold, having been waiting for a couple hours.  We drove back to pick up the deer I had left behind and it was 7 miles one way!  I am so grateful that I’d taken the right road when I had to choose which way to go.

     The Kim family was not so fortunate. You may recall the tragic story which took place in the fall of 2006 in Oregon. James Kim, age 35, was a television personality and technology analyst for a cable television network in San Francisco. After spending Thanksgiving in Seattle, the Kims (James, Kati and their two daughters) set out for their home in San Francisco. On Saturday, November 25, having left Portland, Oregon on their way to Gold Beach on the Oregon coast, they missed a turnoff from Interstate 5 to route 42, a main route to the coast. Rather than returning to the exit, they consulted a map and picked a secondary route that skirted the remote Wild Rogue Wilderness of southwest Oregon. They encountered heavy snow at high elevation and turned by mistake off the Bear Camp Road onto a BLM logging road. It was a gated road, but BLM had left the gate open to avoid trapping hunters or others who might have ventured past it. After 23 miles on the logging road they stopped due to fatigue and the heavy snow that was falling. They kept the engine running to keep warm until they ran out of gas. They were able to collect enough dry wood and, along with some magazines they had with them, managed to get a fire going. Later they even burned their car tires to signal any rescuers that might be looking for them.
     Search efforts began November 30th when Kim’s co-workers filed a missing persons report with the San Francisco Police Department. State police, 80 civilian volunteers, members of the Oregon Army National Guard, and several helicopters hired by Mr. Kim’s father spent several days looking to no avail. On December 2, James finally left his family to look for help. On the afternoon of December 4, a local helicopter pilot spotted Mrs. Kim and her daughters walking on a remote road. He radioed for help and the three were air-lifted to the nearest hospital. On December 6, searchers found Mr. Kim’s body lying on his back in two feet of icy water in Big Windy Creek. After walking more than 16 miles he had succumbed to hypothermia—only a mile from Black Bar Lodge, which, although not open, would have provided food and shelter.
     For James Kim and his family, what was supposed to be a beautiful scenic drive in the mountains of Oregon turned into a heartbreaking tragedy. A state trooper said, “They believed they were taking the right  road.” They weren’t. A television reporter covering the story stood at the crossroads where that family had to choose which way to go. Pointing to one road, he said, “Just up this road a mile is a lodge with food and shelter.” Then he pointed down the other road, saying, “This road is deadly in the winter and the gate is normally closed. They chose this road.”
  Two roads—one that would lead to life, the other to death. That’s exactly how Jesus described the life-or-death choice every person must make between the “road that leads to destruction” and “the road that leads to life” (Mt. 7:13,14).  For the Kim family facing a fatal crossroads, there was nothing there to warn them of the road that would lead to death.   But, for the people you know, you are the person at the crossroads. You’ve been placed where you are to warn them away from an eternity without Christ, and to point them to road that will take them to heaven. That road is Jesus, who said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me” (Jn. 14:6).  God commands us: “…whenever you hear a word from My mouth, warn them from Me. When I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die’; and you do not warn him or speak out to warn the wicked from his wicked way that he may live, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand” (Ezek. 3:17,18).  Many people, like the Kims, think they are on the right road, one that will lead them to their destination (heaven), but as Solomon wrote in Proverbs 14:12: “There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.”
     So, first of all, are you on the right road? Have you chosen to trust Christ for eternal life?  If not, please consider doing that today, while there is yet time. If you have, then you have a responsibility to warn others. Pray daily a three-fold prayer based on Col. 4:3,4:
             1) “Lord, open a door of opportunity to bring up Jesus.”
             2) “Lord, open their heart, get them ready to hear about you.”
             3) “ Lord, open my mouth! Give me the right words and the courage to speak for you.” 
     Then go into each day looking for God-given opportunities to talk about Jesus. People really do need the Lord. Without Him, they are on a road that leads to eternal death.
            Forever His,
                Pastor Dave
    
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About Pastor Dave

Until my retirement 2 years ago, I pastored an independent Bible church in Northwest Montana for nearly 38 years. During that time I also helped establish a Christian school, and a Bible Camp. I am married and have children and grandchildren. The Wisdom of the Week devotional is an outgrowth of my desire to share what God is doing in my life and in our world, and to challenge you to be a part.
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