Every time I drive to Hamilton on Highway 403, I am amazed as the route takes me down the mountain.  Over the crest and down I travel safely and smoothly.  It was not always that way.

Our friend Al Saunders remembers working for an engineering company as they surveyed the land and planned for a smooth route down that mountainside.  They made a way for millions to journey through.

When John the Baptist echoed the prophet Isaiah he talked about preparing the road that Messiah would come in on.  Every valley needed to be filled in.  The bumps and mountains needed to be brought low.  A straight road through a rugged wilderness meant the King could arrive.

In the path of our lives, there are many low places--- insecure, dark valleys that God wants to raise.  We also have some proud, rocky outcroppings and insurmountable obstacles that must be carved away or tunneled through. 

With the mighty machines of the Kingdom, the road is being built.  We may tire of the endless detours and delays associated with road construction, but time proves the necessity of having a good road.  It will be better when a good road is in place.

I remember some detours and unfinished roads in my life eight years ago.  August 2002 was remarkable for the path of broken roads I journeyed.

Detour #1

John McVicar was a young pastor I knew in Blenheim, Ontario.  He died suddenly as a major artery suddenly blew apart.  He was 28 years old and his death came as a surprise.  When he lay in the hospital bed with a heart blowing apart, his brother David came and asked, “What are you doing in this hospital bed?”  John replied, “There must be kryptonite around here.”  Shortly after that, he was taken into emergency surgery and never came back to consciousness in this world.

Detour #2

Within days of that tragedy I was at Bethel Park Camp with my family participating in an inner city kid’s camp.  I discovered that I knew how to do the Heimlich maneuver.  An 11-year-old named Rachel was choking on a hard candy.  I was passing by her cabin when her little friends came out and frantically told me she was choking. When I entered the room, she was bowed forward.  She was not coughing or wheezing.  The candy had lodged sideways and restricted all airflow.  She was walking around unable to breathe.  I assumed the rescue position and it applied the move.  It worked!  She swallowed the candy and breathed freely.  I felt like a hero for saving her life and was once again struck by the fragility of human life.  Eternity was closer than Rachel or I knew.  Why do some live while others die?  Either way, the road is dangerous.

Detour #3

The next day I awoke with some discomfort that soon changed into the worst pain I have ever felt.  The camp nurse and a trip to the hospital confirmed that I was experiencing the movement of a kidney stone.  The pain was one stiffer reminder that eternity was closer than I had thought.  There is a fragile balance that keeps us on this side of it.  It’s a fine line that separates you from suffering, trials and even death.

Each of these experiences was equalizers.  Low places were being filled in and high places smoothed down.  God was using the rough terrain as a foundation upon which to do his work.