When my niece was out on her own and my sister hadn’t heard from her in a while, she would call and ask her daughter if she was in a ditch. I can just hear her saying it! Thankfully we can laugh about it now because my niece was always found to be safe and well.
I’ve posed that same question to my students in the classroom many times over the years since. It seems each concept builds on the one before it. By missing class or not asking questions when they don’t understand, my students put themselves at risk of falling behind or getting lost. When that happens, they find themselves in a proverbial ditch! The more time that passes before they get the help they need, the deeper the ditch becomes. Without help, they find they can’t claw their way out. And so it is with life.
God has good plans for each of us (Jeremiah 29:11). If we stay close, He’ll show us the way. (I can just hear Pastor Dave saying “it’s simple, but it ain’t easy!” after writing that sentence.) God has no trouble keeping His end of the bargain. The problem is on my end. Perhaps you can relate. Life is full of distractions and temptations that take my focus off Him. When I look down, I veer off the path. Without intervention, it isn’t long before I find myself in a ditch. The longer my focus is on the things of this world, the further I sink.
Are you in a ditch? I have good news to share from the Apostle Paul—I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39 NLT)
I have this picture etched in my mind—I look up from the ditch and have to shield my eyes from the light radiating from Jesus. He’s standing at the edge of the ditch with an outstretched, loving hand, just longing to pull me out and put me back on the path to the hope and future that He has planned for me (Jeremiah 29:11). I just need to look up, fix my gaze on Him and reach for His hand. Can you see it too? He wants to do the same for you! If you, like me, are struggling to stay on the path, just look up. And then reach for Him. NOTHING can separate us from His love.
May you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. (Ephesians 3:18 NLT)