When you think of a ditch, what comes to your mind? In Georgia where I grew-up there seemed to be ditches on each side of the road, wherever you drove. There were ditches in the suburbs and there were ditches in the country. But these ditches lined each side of the road mercilessly. These ditches look like God took His finger and drug it through the earth, exposing that red Georgia clay that, by the way, never comes out in the wash.
The ditches not only had clay, but they contained trash and garbage people had thrown out as they drove by. Some trash had blown into the ditches from other places. Some ditches contained some sort of water that either ran somewhere or just sat and festered with all the gunk and mold. But the ditch wasn’t somewhere you’d like to be, not even to explore. It was gross and dirty. The road was nice and clean, but the ditch wasn’t.
I remember hearing my dad say over and over again, “keep it between the ditches!” He obviously meant that he wanted me to keep the car on the road and not run into the ditch. The reasons are obvious. Running into the ditch would mean damaging the car, possibly to the point that it couldn’t run anymore. I could get stuck too and that would be no good. In fact, I can’t think of any good thing that could possibly come out of driving a car into the ditch. Remember when I said the ditch was like God took His finger and drug it through the dirt? When it comes to our lives God, using His finger, points to the places He doesn’t want us to go. And as He points, His finger connects with the earth and the people in it and He draws a very clear line to communicate to us where the ditches are located.
God’s Word gives us direction and shows us where the ditches of life are. God’s Word tells us where the trash, garbage, red clay, the sin of life, the sorrow of life, the defeat, the unproductive places, the disappointment, and death are. Staying on the road God has provided for you is the best place to be and all that is good lies there. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you.” Psalm 119:105 says, “Your Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” God’s Word is the headlights on your vehicle, which allow you to see where you are going in the dark; they at least give you the opportunity to stay on the road.
Where do you drive? Do you drive on the road of surrender and obedience or do you try to drive in the ditch attempting to get somewhere? The ditch reflects a life of sin, a lifestyle of independence from God, and a life that seeks to please the things that are not focused on God. But the road signifies a life of direction, a life of progress, a life of dependence on God’s Word, and a life of surrender to the One who loves you and cares for you more than anyone you have ever known. Where are you driving today?