29th September 2022

Twists and turns

“But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”
Matthew 7:14 (NIV)

I’m grateful for motorways because they enable us to get around the country quicker. I don’t relish driving on them though. I have usually tried to cover the distance that I need to do on them as fast as the speed limit allows. But, given the rise in petrol prices, to conserve petrol I have slowed right down – as a lot of drivers have.

But even current motorway speeds would be inviting disaster in the lane where I live and many of the surrounding roads. They are narrow and there’s no lack of bends. In G K Chesterton’s famous poem, The Rolling English Road, he points a genial finger at the intoxicated Englishmen to blame for our twisting rural roads: 

Before the Roman came to Rye or out to Severn strode,

The rolling English drunkard made the rolling English road.

A reeling road, a rolling road, that rambles round the shire,

And after him the parson ran, the sexton and the squire…

It’s a fanciful idea, of course, that inebriated Anglo-Saxons created our roads. But unlike the Romans who built their roads in a straight line, over hill and dale, to reach their destination, and our modern motorways that gouge their way through county after county so that we can save time getting from A to B, most English country roads take their time to get to places. They meander around fields, wiggle through woods and dawdle through villages.

I think the Christian life’s more like these country roads than the motorways. First, you can’t go fast. Sometimes we get frustrated at our perceived lack of progress. We can get annoyed at others who we think are holding us up. Secondly, you can’t see what is around the bends; just round the corner you can meet a tractor, a lorry, or in some places, sheep or cows. Or, nowadays, you can drive straight into a pothole. God doesn’t tell us what is around our bends in our Christian journey with him. Ask anyone to look back in their lives and say whether they would have ever dreamt that they would be where they are today and most will shake their heads.

Joseph Tkach senior was fond of quoting the poem Don’t Quit.  The second verse starts: ‘Life is strange with its twists and turns, As everyone of us sometimes learns…’. It is indeed. It may go in odd directions and have unexpected encounters – but it’s the road of life. Let us thank God we are on it.

Praise and thanks to you, our Father, for you have called us to the Narrow Road. You have brought us to Jesus, our Way, our Truth and our Life. Amen.

Study by Hilary Buck


About the writer:
Hilary Buck is a minister and pastors the Lewes congregation of Grace Communion International.

Local congregation:
Grace Communion in Lewes
The House of Friendship 208 High Street

Meeting time:
Sunday 11:00am

Local congregational contact:
Hilary Buck
Email:  lewes@gracecom.church

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