A few weeks ago, the long anticipated wait was over!!!
The new 4 lane divided highway between the Elkins community (east of Woodbury) and Newtown (west of McMinnville) was officially opened.
I have personally been waiting on this road to open ever since I moved from McMinnville to Woodbury in 1992! I worked in McMinnville for the first 6 years after Kristie and I were wed. During that time, I had to endure a lot of hardship in getting from "point a" to "point b."
Many times, I would pass familiar cars and end up behind the same slower cars, as well as hit the school zones almost perfectly timed at the start of school at least 4 out of 5 days per week. Or, the couple of reduced speed zones that would sometimes get me in trouble!
We are all in a hurry aren't we? That wasn't the only reason that I had anticipation. My dad still lives in McMinnville, and in my secular work, I have several clients in that same direction. However, still, there was another reason that I anticipated this opening. Over the past 22 years, I have witnessed so many wrecks on this 20ish mile stretch of road. Some of them were fatalities. Some were friends.
It finally opened! I saw the sign that said "NEW TRAFFIC PATTERN" when I was going to drop something off at the church building (which sits about 100 yards from where the road widens now).
I had to take the drive! It was exciting. It was freshly paved, you could see the stripes for miles, the reflectors, the new signs (well, the ones that were there anyway), and there it was...65 MPH speed limits! Wow! This new stretch of road cut out almost 8 minutes of the original drive time.
When I got to Newtown, I pulled over to turn around and sent my wife a text telling her that I got to drive on it and how much faster it was. She was not quite as thrilled as I thought she would be. Matter of fact, the reply was "why did you drive to McMinnville tonight?"
Couldn't she get it? It was the NEW road!!!
Since that time, there has been a lot of discussion about the road. It is a state and national highway, so it does have a lot of traffic. Some folks like the new route...others don't. One thing that seems to be a common topic of conversation though, are the signs. Yes, the signs.
Even though this road lies just a few hundred yards at its widest distance from the old road, there is a lot of unfamiliar ground. There are more crossroads than on the old road. There are more bridges than I remember seeing water for. There are more places to cross the median than I ever imagined. There are yet to be many road signs installed so that you can place where you are. Of course, it will be a while before GPS is updated as well, so it is easy to sort of get "lost" on the new road.
Even though this seems like the most frustrating thought, it is not the most talked about. What IS the most talked about is the number of a particular sign on the highway. At every place to turn across the median, as well as at major turns, there are either 2 or 4 red and white signs that read "WRONG WAY."
You may be laughing about now, and that is okay. It does seem quite silly that this is the biggest topic of discussion about the new road. Wouldn't anyone figure out they were going the wrong way on a 4 lane highway? Well, I guess maybe there is fear that they may not.
Dig a little deeper into this thought please.
Usually, when you see a sign, or hear of some "silly" law, it is because someone has done something that wasn't the sharpest thing to do, someone had gotten hurt, or even worse. But, think about this road. Before the day that I drove on it that Tuesday night, not many had ever driven on this particular road prior to it being legally opened. That means that there were no cars (as a norm) "going the WRONG WAY."
So why put this sign at all? And WHY so many?
Sometimes in life, we may miss the signs warning us that we are going the WRONG WAY. Just like this road that had not been opened yet, there were warning signs posted for us a long, long time ago.
In the Old Testament, God called Ezekiel to be a "watchman" warning His people about sin, and how their lives would "live or die" based on their sins. Read what the words of Ezekiel say:
“Now it came to pass at the end of seven days that the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore hear a word from My mouth, and give them warning from Me: When I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life, that same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand. Yet, if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul. “Again, when a righteous man turns from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and I lay a stumbling block before him, he shall die; because you did not give him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he has done shall not be remembered; but his blood I will require at your hand. Nevertheless if you warn the righteous man that the righteous should not sin, and he does not sin, he shall surely live because he took warning; also you will have delivered your soul.” Then the hand of the Lord was upon me there, and He said to me, “Arise, go out into the plain, and there I shall talk with you.” So I arose and went out into the plain, and behold, the glory of the Lord stood there, like the glory which I saw by the River Chebar; and I fell on my face. Then the Spirit entered me and set me on my feet, and spoke with me and said to me: “Go, shut yourself inside your house. And you, O son of man, surely they will put ropes on you and bind you with them, so that you cannot go out among them. I will make your tongue cling to the roof of your mouth, so that you shall be mute and not be one to rebuke them, for they are a rebellious house. But when I speak with you, I will open your mouth, and you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God.’ He who hears, let him hear; and he who refuses, let him refuse; for they are a rebellious house.” (Ezekiel 3:16–27, NKJV)
Ezekiel took on this charge from Yahweh to warn His people, not only once, but was again tasked with this same request of Yahweh in chapter 33 as well.
In the New Testament, we read of similar circumstances with John the Immerser as he warned those of sin. When he told Herod that he had no lawful right to his brother's wife Herodias, this angered Herod and John was put into prison. Calling out what appears to be adultery cost John his life.
“For Herod had laid hold of John and bound him, and put him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife. Because John had said to him, “It is not lawful for you to have her.” And although he wanted to put him to death, he feared the multitude, because they counted him as a prophet. But when Herod’s birthday was celebrated, the daughter of Herodias danced before them and pleased Herod. Therefore he promised with an oath to give her whatever she might ask. So she, having been prompted by her mother, said, “Give me John the Baptist’s head here on a platter.” And the king was sorry; nevertheless, because of the oaths and because of those who sat with him, he commanded it to be given to her. So he sent and had John beheaded in prison. And his head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, and she brought it to her mother. Then his disciples came and took away the body and buried it, and went and told Jesus.” (Matthew 14:3–12, NKJV)
I recently received some grave criticism, including a family member "unfriending" me on Facebook because of pointing out that adultery is as much a sin today as it was in this day, as well as in the Old Testament. I did not lose my life, but it sure does hurt to lose a family member's very own association because I have made an enemy telling the truth.
Paul told young Timothy that he too had a responsibility to call out sin. His direction in the first epistle to Timothy included a harsh statement toward the elders of the church, if they be found guilty of sin, and to use this as an example for Christians:
“Those who are sinning rebuke in the presence of all, that the rest also may fear.” (1 Timothy 5:20, NKJV)
Paul went on to talk much more about this topic, not only to Timothy, but also to the young preacher Titus as well. We can keep reading in many other places, such as James 5:20, example of Paul rebuking Peter of sin, and even the words of Jesus the Christ telling us how to handle offenses.
“Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him.” (Luke 17:3, NKJV)
I told my wife about some of the frustrations of the day and some of the harshness in comments and actions of others. Her reply was "do they not realize that you did not say it, that it is in the Bible?"
If only we could follow what the Bible says about God, love, mercy, grace, sin, forgiveness, judging, and eternity, the world would be (in) a better place some day. Then maybe there wouldn't have to be so many signs that say...