Standing at the Crossroads of Life
by Deacon Christine Maddux
When I first visited Cashiers almost 30 years ago, I was charmed by the beauty of the area, the friendliness of the people, and the interesting shops and restaurants. At the time I lived in Minnesota, and had absolutely no inkling that God would take me on a long and winding road leading back here, where I now happily serve as a deacon at Christ Anglican Church, just east of The Crossroads. As you see, I have learned to give directions from The Crossroads. It is much the same when we seek spiritual direction.
Sometimes we find ourselves at an interior crossroads wondering, “Where am I? How did I get here? Which way should I turn? Which road leads to my desired destination? What landmarks will assure me that I’m going the right way? Where can I get directions?”
Not all sources of spiritual direction are reliable, just as not all sources of physical directions are reliable. Ask a tourist who is unfamiliar with the area for directions, and although they may mean well, they might be entirely wrong. Or, one person’s “just down the road” may actually be 10 miles down the road.
Even GPS can fall short, as it did when I asked it to guide me to the Fishes and Loaves Food Pantry for our church’s month of volunteering there. My GPS got me to Frank Allen Road, but when it announced “the destination is on your left”, I could see that it was clearly not on my left. Thankfully, I knew what I was looking for from the photo on the ministry website, so I drove on with faith that the ascending address numbers would eventually lead to my destination.
Just as we can be misled by unreliable sources of physical direction, we can also be misled by unreliable spiritual sources. You may have heard it said, “All spiritual roads lead to God.” Given all the contradictory claims of various religions, that is as logical as saying “All physical roads lead to the Cashiers Post Office.”
Some people rely on a spiritual compass of their own design, by which they follow whatever path sincerely seems right to them. But what if that path is based on something that is just not true? The truth does matter. One may sincerely believe he or she is on the road to Ingles; but that doesn’t change the fact that by staying on it they will end up in Glenville.
The Christian faith is based on the One who declared, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except by me” [John 14:6]. A follower of Christ can be confident that He will provide absolutely reliable direction for the right path at any of life’s crossroads. He lovingly bids us, “Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you shall find, knock and the door shall be opened to you” [Matthew 7:7]. His directions come through prayerful reading of the Bible, which has proved reliable for more than 3,000 years. It is teeming with spiritual direction, including, “Thus says the Lord: ‘Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls’“ [Jeremiah 6:16].
When we find ourselves at a crossroads in life, we can trust the ancient Cross road. More on this next time.
The Rev. Christine Maddux is a deacon at Christ Anglican Church. Contact her at email@example.com.
Originally published in the Crossroads Chronicle, Summer 2018.