Three times in the last month I have been prevented from continuing on my planned journey because the road ahead has been unexpectedly closed. Each time my initial reaction has been: ‘I don’t believe this, how could they do this?’ and in the case of the recent closure of the A227 (due to a burst water main) between the Vigo Inn and the Wrotham roundabout, ‘don’t they know how important this road is?’
It’s difficult to accept that ‘they’ have closed the road in front of me and that I am going to have to find another way to continue my journey. I have even refused to believe that the road ahead was really closed and decided to ignore the warning signs, choosing instead to drive round the barriers. In one case ignoring the signs seemed to work, until I came to the actual ‘works’ that straddled the whole width of the road, making it impassable.
These ‘road ahead closed’ experiences have made me analyse my reaction to other events in my life where the road ahead is suddenly and inexplicably closed. My gut reaction is to refuse to believe it, let alone accept the situation. Acceptance is often hard to achieve, but when it does come then other options do seem to present themselves. On one occasion my satellite navigation system took me on a route that I had no idea even existed. The destination was the same but the route was completely different and much better.
Since then I’ve been rethinking these ‘road ahead closed’ events in my life and reflecting further on the fact that although at the time all seemed to be lost, the alternative route that very quickly presented itself, was far superior to the one I had planned. In the Proverbs it says that ‘in his heart a man plans his course but the Lord directs his steps’, illustrating that our route and maybe even our destination may be different from the one that we had planned. Even more sobering is Proverb 14.12 that says ‘there is a way that seems right to a man and appears straight before him, but at the end of it is the way of death’. So, next time we are confronted with a ‘road ahead closed’ sign, what are we going to do?
Rev Dr. Christopher Noble – Rector