We have all seen the evidence: shattered glass on the pavement, cars with smashed fenders and bent bumpers pulled over to the side of the road, passengers standing around wringing their hands, sometimes in tears, red and blue lights flashing in the night. Each year the Federal Highway Administration reports approximately 2.5 million accidents at intersections. Forty percent of all traffic accidents occur at intersections and almost 1,000 people a year die in these accidents. Intersections are dangerous.
As in driving, so in life. We all must go through intersections that raise the level of risk. They are moments built into life that challenge our best judgement and call on our best resources. Many families will encounter one of those intersections in the next few weeks: college. For the freshman leaving home it can be a dramatic confluence of emotion: excitement, freedom and fear. You can find them walking among the imposing buildings on campus, sometimes accompanied with anxious parents, sometimes alone, gazing at the pillared buildings wondering how they will find their way.
Parents will return home to suddenly silent houses. Stereos no longer echo from the upstairs bedroom. Meals are no longer gulped down in a rush to get the kids off to school and make the next practice session or performance. Schedules are disturbingly simple.
We encounter other intersections when we choose a career, find a partner for life and give birth to our children. We encounter them when our preschoolers start first grade, when they reach puberty and struggle to grow up. Promotions, layoffs, career changes, moves to a new house in a new city, aging and old age. Life is filled with intersections.
We do best at these moments when we trust in God. He knows the “traffic patterns.” He has been there. He knows the outcome. He is willing to take us by the hand or “take the wheel” and guide us through to the other side.
He led Abraham to a foreign land he had never seen and multiplied his descendants like the sands of the sea. He guided Isaac in search of a wife and blessed Jacob in a similar quest. He led Moses through the wilderness. He guided Mary and Joseph to Egypt and back after the birth of Jesus. In every generation, God has been a comfort and a guide to those who trust Him.
“In your loving kindness you have led the people whom you have redeemed; in your strength you have guided them to your Holy habitation” (Exodus 15:13). “For you are my rock and my fortress; for your name’s sake you will lead me and guide me” (Psalm 31:3). “And the Lord will continually guide you, and satisfy your desire in scorched places; and you will be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water whose waters do not fail” (Isaiah 58:11).