Recently, my husband and I embarked on our next “new beginning,” as God began to impress on our hearts a need for someone to come alongside pastors and their wives to encourage them in their own beginnings. We passed the baton of leadership at Christ’s Church of the Valley in Peoria, Arizona to those who will experience their own new beginnings in a ministry that has shaped so many lives. At age 70, we stepped into a new world, trusting God to show us what that will look like. He has given us a heart for the church and a desire to encourage and equip those who have been called by God to serve local churches around the world.
My point in sharing this is to say to others: Never be afraid of beginning again. We may experience many new beginnings as we travel the road of life. There will be roadblocks, detours, and washed out roads. But there will also be beautiful mountaintops, awe-inspiring life changes, and magnificent surprises that could only be orchestrated by God. Our lives on earth are meant to make a difference for the kingdom of God and sometimes we get stuck in a rut because it takes too much effort to pull out and get back on the road. I’m reminded of something I wrote several years ago that helped me keep perspective on the constant changes in life, and the need to remain alert as we begin again and again and again. I call it the “WGOD Traffic Report.”
“Good morning everyone, welcome to WGOD and another day in the Journey of Your Life. Before you get on the road, let’s go to the Big Guy up above for a traffic report. Good morning, Big Guy! How’s it look for our journey today?”
“Good morning to you down there! Well, it could be worse, but I see a pretty big jam-up at the intersection of Selfishness and Sacrifice today; you need to beware that you don’t get bogged down at that spot. You might want to take the bypass through Psalm 86:11 which will lead you around Brokenness and into Whole-Hearted Devotion. Be sure to watch out for the outbreak of Wickedness that will keep you swatting at your dark side near the off-ramp to Despair. You may need to slow down and refer to your map which outlines the Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth. But if you shoot straight down Purpose 101, persevere through the Curves of Corruption and pray over the Potholes of Pride, you should be Home in no time!”
You’re probably thinking, that’s cute, but we’ll never hear anything like that from God. Well, guess what? We already have! Take a look at The Message Version of Proverbs 4:10-19. It
seems to me that God has used the author to make a clear point: life is full of change and we need to stay on the path he has outlined for us in his Word. We’ll probably still hit a few potholes because we’re prone to taking shortcuts, but the Bible is our roadmap for survival in this world as we navigate its many twists and turns.
Dear friend, take my advice; it will add years to your life. I’m writing out clear directions to Wisdom Way, I’m drawing a map to Righteous Road. I don’t want you ending up in blind alleys, or wasting time making wrong turns. Hold tight to good advice; don’t relax your grip. Guard it well—your life is at stake! Don’t take Wicked Bypass; don’t so much as set foot on that road. Stay clear of it; give it a wide berth. Make a detour and be on your way.
Evil people are restless unless they’re making trouble; They can’t get a good night’s sleep unless they’ve made life miserable for somebody. Perversity is their food and drink, violence their drug of choice.
The ways of right-living people glow with light; the longer they live, the brighter they shine. But the road of wrongdoing gets darker and darker—travelers can’t see a thing; they fall flat on their faces (Proverbs 4:10-19, The Message).
As you face new beginnings throughout your life, don’t be afraid. Instead remember these words in Proverbs and follow the map God has laid out in His Word. It will add years to your life!
“Teach me your way, Lord, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name” (Psalm 86:11, NIV).
Sue Wilson and her husband, Don, have recently retired from Christ’s Church of the Valley in Arizona, a church they started together in 1983. They are now leading a ministry to encourage pastors and wives, to give consultation to church leaders, and to help the global kingdom of God grow through healthy churches.