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A Long and Winding Road

July 8, 2011

I was listening to the words of the Beatles’ song, “The Long and Winding Road” on the radio the other day, when I was struck by the analogy to the long and winding road that people take to reach God.

The road described by another Englishman, John Bunyon, in Pilgrim’s Progress, was not a direct road either.  It was filled with so many obstacles, turns and switchbacks that the pilgrim despaired of  ever arriving at his destination.  Paul McCartney’s words “Lead me to your door, let me know the way” also describe our plea to God to lead us to His door.   We plead for guidance using words similar to McCartney’s:  “Don’t leave me waiting here, lead me to your door.”

Several other things contributed to my inspiration to write about the long and winding road to God, including our pastor’s recent sermon on Justin Martyr, whose path to God was not a direct one.  His search for truth led him from Stoicism, to Aristotle to Pythagorian mathematics, to Plato and finally, to the God of the Bible.

I also happened upon a Christina Rosetti quote from “Up-Hill”: “Does the road wind up-hill all the way? Yes, to the very end.  Will the day’s journey take the whole long day? From morn to night, my friend.”

Yet another:  I watched It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World for the first time in many years.  The opening scenes of the movie take place in the desert, on Highway 74, on the way to Idyllwild through the Santa Rosa Mountains.  The movie holds special memories for me.  I grew up in the desert, and remember the big black limousines passing by our bus stop at the Kiva Market in Rancho Mirage, California, many mornings at about 6:45 am in 1962, transporting the actors to the locations where the movie was filmed.  The first scene in the movie is an aerial view of the very long and winding road to the top of the mountain — a fitting analogy of the road to God, who we often envision residing in lofty places.

But why is the path to God such a long and winding road?  Why isn’t God just a few direct steps away?  After all, a basic Christian belief is that God is with us at all times.    The short answer is that our humanity, our rebellious nature, keeps us away from God.  The long answer is as complex as is each unique human soul.

One thing is certain:  the path to God begins in the heart of the seeker.  Jesus said: “Seek and you will find” (Matthew 7:8). 

Whenever your thoughts are turned to God, He is there.  He sent His Holy Spirit to be with us—and references to the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity, are found in both the Old and New Testaments.

The key to connecting to God is keeping your face turned toward Him.  When we are distracted and turn away from Him, we wander off the path, and lose our way for a time.   We needn’t be concerned about finding God.  When we seek God, when we ask Him to lead us to His door, He will find us. 

Diane C. Reagan

July 2011

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