by Timothy W. Tron, Nov. 2020
A winding mountain road is the life I live. If living were a straight road, with nary a curve, never a hill, nor a bump what a sorrowful experience it would have been. With each twist, the unexpected arrives – some good, many challenging, and some sorrowful. From breathtaking vistas to cattle grazing in verdant green pastures, there is never a bend in the road that doesn’t reveal another blessing to be alive. All make living one of not our own doing, but in that regard, give testimony to our Creator. By the guiding hand of God, we are kept between the lines. When trials come, they mold our character, develop our patience, and gather our soul into that which becomes better for the perils through which we survived.
Much like the barren, time-worn tree that stands on an outcropping of rocks on a high mountain peak, it too tells a story of a life well-lived. The harshness of existence created a cracked and foreboding skin, that with each crevice is a wrinkle in the tale of its life. Its weathered continence exudes the wisdom within. Whether the twisting road of life or the desolate, weary tree, we are the product of the tribulations which formed us in the fire.
As the seasons change, so do those of our own. From our youth to the nearing of the end of one’s time, and all those many seasons in between, there are countless moments when we could have stopped and considered the moment for what it was. Too often, we allow that fleeting opportunity to give thanks to pass us by before we are chasing the next falling leaf from the tree above. If only we had the peace of mind to stop and cherish those brief respites. Instead, the foliage spirals down into the bed of so many other fallen leaves before it, they all form a collection of memories upon a pallet of life. Their myriad of color, the complexities of those moments in time, each connected through the thread of our being. If one were to connect these, as one might think a pathway is built, their course would intertwine, fold upon one another, and intersect into a countless number of likelihoods. An image of such would look like what scientists have concluded our own immutable DNA resembles. Memory, our collective past, intertwined like the branches of a forest, is the only lasting reward, or curse, that one can carry with them in this world, no matter your position in life. Those memories are a culmination of life’s choices to that which we have been afforded – they can be our heaven or hell.
As C.S. Lewis wrote, “Every choice reduces a little one’s freedom to choose the next time. There therefore comes a time when the creature is fully built, irrevocably attached either to God or to itself. This irrevocableness is what we call Heaven or Hell. Every conscious agent is finally committed in the long run: i.e., it rises above freedom into willed, but henceforth unalterable, union with God, or else sinks below freedom into the black fire of self-imprisonment.”
From the beginning, man was allowed choices, also known as free will. It was in this context that sin came into the world, not necessarily as a choice to do evil, for there was no evil in the world at that point, but rather was as a decision to make himself equal or greater than God. In essence, it was pride that brought the fall of man, not evil. “The highway of the upright is to depart from evil: he that keepeth his way preserveth his soul. Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” Satan used man’s own pride to sequester his thoughts into a path that took him to the darkness of man’s soul.
Choices led Judas Iscariot to sell his Savior’s identity for thirty pieces of silver which ultimately led to the trial, and crucifixion of Christ. Choices led David to invite Bathsheba into his bed-chamber, which led to the death of the resultant child and his sons. Choices led Moses to strike the rock in anger which led to his being excluded from being allowed to enter the Holy Land. Time and time again, we see how erred judgment on the part of man resulted in predicaments that could have been avoided had they chose wisely. Each time we allow Satan to enter into our decision making, our minds are contorted into the culpability of choosing on the side of this terrestrial being, rather than on the side of how it affects our life eternal.
As much as we have the ability to choose wrong, we have the same capability to choose right. Though our life’s journey need not be a long course of bad memories, there are hopefully more of the singular instances of hope and light that permeate through the fog of reminiscence than the former. As those thoughts allow us to build upon the past, we must realize that going forward, we have the foresight to become greater than of ourselves, again, if we choose wisely. A life eternal is in the balance. To be tied to an earthly being or to be one with a risen Savior, that guarantees life eternal – this is the only choice in this life that really matters. You can go on living as one that perceives there is “no tomorrow,” or you can start to live a life in preparation for one eternal – the choice is yours.
Some believe they are too far gone. They feel they are beyond the grasp of God’s forgiveness of sins. Many feel their sin is greater than Christ’s ability to forgive – but they couldn’t be more wrong. We serve a risen Savior that died for our sins, even before we existed so that all that come to him might be saved. It is never too late to seek Him.
While we chase after those swirling entities that entice us to forget the thankfulness and forget that we can be forgiven, we must force ourselves to take pause and know that, “God hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pastures.” Like those winding country roads that passeth through the highlands of the Blueridge, we cannot know what lies ahead. The afternoon shadows pass upon the landscape, one that passes from autumn into winter. The seasons change regardless if we are ready for them to do so or not. In time, we realize our helplessness in that we cannot control all those things that in our youth we believed were within our command. The decisions which we hath made, we must now live with until our road’s end. No matter how bad they were, they can be forgiven. When you ask Christ to come into your life, your journey’s end on earth is only the beginning of the rest of your life. It is this destination that should help you decide how you will travel the remainder of the journey in time that remains.
Choose wisely, your soul’s eternal life depends on it.
Thanks be to God.
 Words to Live By: A Guide for the Merely Christian. Copyright © 2007 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.
 Proverbs 16:17-8 KJV
 Psalm 100:3