"Lord, give us faith and strength the road to build,
To see the promise of the day fulfilled,
When war shall be no more and strife shall cease
Upon the highway of the Prince of Peace"
--Heralds of Christ--Laura S. Copenhaver (1868-1941) and George W. Warren (1828-1902)
"And a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Way of Holiness..."--Isaiah 35:8.
The road that passes by our house is, what we call in the country, a backroad. To those who are unfamiliar with the term, I can assure you that the word is quite descriptive. The traffic on our road is minimal, so the maintenance on it many times resembles the use--minimal. I've been known to liken it to driving on a piece of Swiss cheese--lots of holes of varying sizes to be dodged while in transit to the adjoining state highway. Unfortunately, at the present time, that adjoining state highway is suffering as well. Numerous scars of varying sizes, shapes, and depths have developed from wear and tear. It has, apparently, due to poor choices of materials used, become every bit as treacherous as our little poorly functioning backroad.
I come from the generation where roads were everything. Even though the first coast to coast interstate system was built in the decade before my birth, roads were a very important part of my young life. We took many a vacation while I was growing up--all in the car. It was rare when we encountered a road that was very poorly built or maintained. Thick layers of asphalt with bright yellow and white ribbons of paint greeted us in state after state. Sadly, that is no longer the case. The roads we now encounter on our car trips vary from "o-kay" to "oh dear".
Thinking about the third verse of the hymn Heralds of Christ, I see many comparisons concerning roads in our lives, both literally and figuratively. We are given a charge through our dedication to God that we will "build the road" that will be fit for the Prince of Peace to travel upon--a road that bears no scars of hate, no dangerous potholes of war or strife. Our attempts to do this many times end up looking more like the Swiss cheese backroad than the smoothly paved and lined highways of generations past. In the busyness of our days, we tend to not take the care to smooth the road bed, to mix the materials carefully, to check for proper conditions, and to add enough layers to last throughout the many challenges of heavy traffic, poor weather conditions, and general wear and tear of time. We want to be good stewards of God's world, sharing His love and message to all people; but, for whatever reasons, we tend to not stay the course. We shy away from being direct with our faith, we water down the word of God, we don't follow through with re-visiting those to whom we share God's love--as a result our "road building" doesn't result in a road fit for Christ, but rather a more holey than holy road.
Isaiah 35:8 tells us that "a highway will be there, and it will be one of Holiness". This is our charge while here on earth. Time to sharpen up our road construction skills. An honored guest is coming soon.
Peace be with you.