During my first ministry experience in Elmira, NY, I always chuckled when I went to the north end of Walnut Street, which was the south gate entrance to the Woodlawn National Cemetery. I wasn’t laughing because Mark Twain was buried in that cemetery. Although Mark Twain was funny and said, “Humor is mankind’s greatest blessing.” I always chuckled for another reason. About 50 yards from the entrance to the cemetery was a “Dead End” traffic sign. It was ironic. It was an unintended twist on the truth.
I recently saw this statement on a DVD jacket—“It’s not a dead end if it takes you somewhere you needed to go.” I like that. Most of us think of a dead end road as a bad route to nowhere. But sometimes we do need to get to a dead end.
DEAD ENDS ARE GOOD WHEN THEY…
…KEEP US FROM SOMETHING WORSE. I’ve often been grateful for dead end signs that kept me from going off the street in a city with over 400 miles of canals. A “No” answer to a new job, a loan application and a potential relationship have saved me from a lot of stress and heartache. Dead ends are not necessarily a bad thing.
…FORCE US TO TURN AROUND. Sometimes I’ve missed the signs I should have seen much earlier at the beginning of the road. When there’s a barrier or a cul-de-sac in front of me, I have few options but to turn around. I’ve discovered that God knows how to put dead ends in our path when we haven’t carefully listened to his guidance along the way.
…MAKE US LOOK FOR DETOURS. Resistance and obstacles often force us to pay attention to other options. It’s easy to live life on cruise-control and end up going at a high-rate of speed to a bad destination. I know a lot of people who are now grateful for the economic crash of a few years back because the job they lost, the house foreclosure and the shaken-to-the-core experience demanded they reevaluate their priorities, their relationships and their values. Now, they love the change of scenery!
…CAUSE US TO DEPEND ON GOD. There’s an old saying, “There are no atheists in foxholes.” People tend to seek divine power when they are facing an extreme threat. People who are suddenly faced with no more pavement in front of them (whether it be financial, relational, health-related, career or other), usually cry out to God for strength, guidance, peace and power. And, that is a good thing. A self-powered life is not what God intended for His creation.
Remember, dead end living can be the best thing that happens to you. And, it’s not a dead end if it takes you somewhere you need to go. Happy traveling!
QUESTION: What would you add as a benefit of a dead end? Share it in the Comment section.