Although our entire stay in the Cape Breton Highlands National Park could be described as nearly perfect, one of the few "flaws" was the fact that the Cabot Trail, which is the primary road around the park and through the Cape Breton Highlands, was under construction. There were bridges being reconstructed, road beds being graded, new railing being installed, fresh tar being laid, and fresh paint being put down.

The repairs resulted in long waits, followed by many kilometers of unpaved and sometimes ungraded roadways, often filled with potholes. This was inconvenient in the best of times, but when we were towing our trailer over these sections of road, it became more challenging, especially when we were forced to stop on loose gravel on a steep incline. Although we recognized the necessity of the road repairs, we couldn't have helped but wish that it was happening on a year that we were not visiting the island!

Due to the fact that most of the work zones areas were under active construction, most of these sections of road had a "pilot" vehicle to guide us safely through the best sections of the construction zones. These "pilot" vehicles were easily identified by the large sign on their rear bumpers: "Follow me. Do NOT Pass!"

The first time I drove behind one of these "pilot" vehicles, it occurred to me that just as there were sections of road being repaired, there are sections of our "road-through-life" that also appear to be "under construction". We wish those sections would just go away, yet without these "rough" spots, would we ever be able to have smooth roads? It's true that the "rough" spots on our walk through life don't always appear to be in the most convenient places. Just like the road construction was easier to deal with without the trailer, the problems life will throw our way are always easier to face when we're not cumbered by other things. After all, wouldn't that stomach bug that has hit your spouse and kids have been easier to deal with if you, yourself, weren't also sick with the same bug? And wouldn't the broken engagement have been easier without the stress of a master's thesis coupled with a recent death in the family?

The good news lies in the fact that there was a way around all of those sections of road construction. All we had to do was follow our assigned "pilot" vehicle. In the same way, we also have a "Pilot" when we're going through the rough times in our lives, a gentle Shepherd who leads the way: "The LORD is my shepherd; I have all that I need." (Ps. 23:1 NLT); "You are my flock, the sheep of my pasture. You are my people, and I am your God. I, the Sovereign LORD, have spoken!" (Ez. 34:31 NLT).

When we follow our Shepherd, we can be sure that, "He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name." (Ps. 23:2-3 NLT).

The problem is, we have difficulty with "following". We want to go our own way. After all, who would choose the hard times? But it is only when we follow that we can experience the peaceful streams, the renewed strength, the rest: "It is the LORD your God you must follow, and him you must revere. Keep his commands and obey him; serve him and hold fast to him." (Deut. 13:4 NIV).

Just like those "pilot" vehicles sported those signs on their bumpers, "Follow me. Do NOT Pass", Jesus also calls out to us, just as He did to Matthew of old, "Follow Me!" (See Matt. 9:9). It is only when we "follow" and "do not pass" that we can experience His blessings for us, that we can experience the best paths through the troubled times, that in the midst of our problems, we can still say, "Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings. Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the LORD forever." (Ps. 23:4-6 NLT)

Is your road through life under construction? There's a "Pilot" vehicle to guide you through. Your only job is to: "Follow Me. Do NOT Pass!"

In His love,
Lyn


Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author -- "Aboard God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.

(To access the entire "Lessons From Cape Breton" mini-series, please click here.)