“Are we there yet?” Famous pips from the backseat. My family growing up took tons of car trips. We drove long hours, stopping for picnics at rest stops. There was a well planned route that was followed exactly so because the destination, not the journey was the priority.
But the highway through the middle of Illinois is boring for children trapped in the back of a Buick eager to get to Grandma’s. No offense to mid-westerners. There were only so many road games, naps, books and fights to be had.
The highway, I remember was long and straight edged by corn fields. When the farms were close to the road, the smell of pigs permeated the air reminding us we weren’t in New Jersey anymore. All interstates, I’ve since learned as a driver, take on the same monotony whether it’s hilly like in Tennessee or mountainous like in Upstate New York. As a driver, I keep my gaze looking about as not to zone out or doze off.
Highways, or road engineering, are actually fascinating, when you think about it. Drilling through hills to make tunnels or building bridges to span areas or designing entrances and exits with loops to make traffic flow. God has designed a highway as well: the Highway of Holiness.
Isaiah 35: 8 A highway shall be there, and a road, And it shall be called the Highway of Holiness. The unclean shall not pass over it, But it [shall be] for others. Whoever walks the road, although a fool, Shall not go astray. 9 No lion shall be there, Nor shall [any] ravenous beast go up on it; It shall not be found there. But the redeemed shall walk [there], 10 And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, And come to Zion with singing, With everlasting joy on their heads. They shall obtain joy and gladness, And sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
This isn’t your typical road to travel. It is narrow and specific and is the only way from sin to sanctification, from death to eternal life and from condemnation to perfection. Spurgeon goes on to ask, “Who could make a road over the mountains of our iniquities but Almighty God? None but the Lord of love would have wished it; none but the God of wisdom could have devised it; none but the God of power could have carried it out.”
The wilderness is where I was before I found God. For me, it was dark, dry, and lonely filled with depression and self-hate. It was dangerous, I often thought of self-harm. The trail was wide; choices were plentiful as I looked to fill the voids I felt. I was definitely lost and only intermittingly, at best, seeking the Way.
Somehow, miraculously, I found His Highway and began my expedition towards His freedom and my salvation. Tentatively I traveled and started to learn countless lessons. Patterns were re-worked and behaviors were undone. I learned love and to trust again starting with His faithfulness to me and spreading to others. At times, I was carried when I couldn’t walk and I crawled when I kicked one too many times in stubborn rebellion or when I purposefully walked off the road to forge my own path.
Holiness is a life-time pursuit. In this life, there’s no way I can accomplish it like I might master typing or defensive driving. It’s also a full-time quest. I don’t get time off for good behavior nor do I get to put it aside while I take a break. And it has to be heart orientated. Actually, the bottom line is, my heart is the issue. I must strive to keep my heart’s desires pure, my eyes locked on His eyes and my feet on His highway.
Are you on the Highway?
Are you making progress, stopped on the shoulder or off on a side road?
Are you enjoying your travel?
Are you inviting others to join you?
There’s an old hymn about this Highway of Holiness called “The King’s Highway,” written in 1876 by Thoro Harris:
The King’s highway, the King’s highway,
I’ll keep along the middle of the King’s highway;
I will not turn aside; whatever may betide,
I’ll keep along the middle of the King’s highway.
Our God will guide us right, and walking in the light,
We shall win a crown of glory in the day,
When Jesus calls His own together round the throne,
Who keep along the middle of the King’s highway.