The Road to Nowhere

The tunnel on The Road to Nowhere, Swain County, NC

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. – Romans 8:28 NIV

Eighty years ago private landowners in Swain County, NC, were forced to give up their property, which had been in their families for generations, when the government created the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Entire communities had to relocate. Access to ancestral burial grounds was lost when the Fontana Dam was built and the route was submerged beneath the waters of a vast manmade lake.

To appease the people, the government promised to build a road through the park that would give them access to the ancient cemeteries. And so construction on Lakeview Drive began—and halted six miles into the park when environmental issues arose. The promised road ended with a tunnel and has remained that way to this day.

Although eventually the environmental issues were resolved and the feds paid the county $52 million in lieu of finishing the road, the locals, feeling betrayed, renamed Lakeview Drive to “The Road to Nowhere.” A sign was erected: “Welcome to The Road to Nowhere. A Broken Promise. 1943 – ?”

We visited The Road to Nowhere several years ago during our camping trip to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and we walked through the dank, dark tunnel. True, the paved road ended when we emerged on the other side, but I wouldn’t call it “nowhere.” Golden trees framed hiking trails that wound through the mountains. True, this wasn’t what was promised, but it is what it is.

Life can be like that. Sometimes the road we’re on doesn’t lead us to where we expect or where we want to go. Sometimes we run into a dead end. Broken promises break our hearts and our trust. We can’t see how we can go on.

But it doesn’t lead to nowhere. All roads lead to somewhere. Just sometimes not where we’d chosen.

The older I get, the more I understand the wisdom of accepting and adapting. And moving on.

I’m not saying it’s easy—giving up those dreams, rebuilding your life after hope has been shattered.

But it can be done—with guts, gumption, grit—and God.

You see, I believe in a God who can transform what’s bad in your life into something good, what’s broken into something usable. A God who can turn your weakness into His strength (2 Corinthians 12:9) and loves you far beyond what you can comprehend (Romans 8:35–39).

He’s always in your corner (Romans 8:31) and wants to bless you exceedingly abundantly above all you can ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20). He’s a faithful Father who showers you with fresh mercies every morning (Lamentations 3:23) and who doesn’t break promises (2 Timothy 2:13).

So, dear child of God, “do not fear. Do not let not your hands grow weak. The LORD, your God, is in your midst, a warrior who gives great victory. He will rejoice over you with gladness, he will renew you in his love; he will exult over you with loud singing as on the day of a festival” (Zephaniah 3:16–17)

Remember that it’s God who’s in control, no matter what road you find yourself on.

Remind me, Lord, as I walk this uncertain road called life, that every road I walk with You will lead to somewhere wonderful. Amen.

The Road to Nowhere, Swain County, NC

Read and reflect on Lamentations 3:19–26

From God, Me & a Cup of Tea: 101 devotional readings to savor during your time with God, © 2017 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.

When Faith Fails

 

 

 

“Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?” –Jesus, as quoted in John 11:44 NKJV

 When her husband, Jim, was speared to death by the Auca Indians he was trying to reach with the Gospel, Elisabeth Elliot, who’d just turned 29 a month earlier, was left with a 10-month-old daughter.

Yet Elisabeth didn’t pull up stakes and return to the US. She remained in Ecuador, living among and ministering to the Quichua tribe, continuing the work she and Jim began. She chose believe God, His Word, and His promises, despite the circumstances. In time, she served as a missionary to the very tribe that killed her husband.

While scant few believers will ever experience a trial by fire like Elisabeth did, we all eventually come to a point where we feel faith has failed us.

When are those times?

When others fail you. You’ve been betrayed, lied to, used by someone you trusted. Or perhaps someone made a promise – sincere at the time – they didn’t fulfill. More than once.

What then?

Check on where your faith resides.

Remember King David. He was betrayed over and over throughout his life – by close friends, by his own son. He chose not to become bitter, but to forgive and move on. That didn’t mean he trusted those who failed him. It means he chose to acknowledge we humans are an imperfect lot. I know I’ve failed others many times. I’m thankful for grace, mercy, forgiveness, and second chances.

David knew where he could put his faith and it wouldn’t fail him: “It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man” (Psalm 118:8). God will never let you down.

Another time your faith falters is when you don’t get what you ask for in prayer. Your requests to the Almighty aren’t answered when and how you think they should. Or you think they haven’t been answered at all.

What then?

Ask yourself: Is my faith in prayer – or in the One who hears and answers? God will never let you down. Your loving Father knows what is best for you. His answers are always exactly what and when you need them.

Remember Psalm 5:3: “In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.”

Another time faith may fail is when you don’t get the promised rewards for your obedience. You’ve given your time, talent, and treasure to God, to the church, to worthy causes, often at great sacrifice, expecting the windows of heaven to open and a blessing so great, you don’t have room enough to receive it (Malachi 3:10).

Yet the windows remain firmly shut and your coffers empty.

What then?

Check your motives. Are you obeying out of love for God or for the rewards you want?

Maybe you’ve received your rewards, but you just can’t see them. Look again. This time with eyes opened by divine perspective.

Who says all our rewards are monetary, material? What about good health? What about receiving just what you need when you need it? What about the respect of others? A good reputation? The love of your spouse and children? A roof over your head? Food on the table? Enough money in the bank to pay the bills (sometimes just enough)? A cup of tea (or coffee) with a friend? Eyes to see the sky in all its moods, the sun as it rises and sets, the birds at the birdfeeder? Ears to hear the wind in the trees, the gurgling of a brook, the roar of the ocean . . .

Blessings are all around us, if only we have the eyes of faith to see them.

Remember: “My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory” (Philippians 4:19 NKJV, emphasis mine).

Others will fail you, prayers won’t get answered when and how you want them to, and you won’t always get what you think you deserve.

But our faithful God will never leave you or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5). And that’s a promise you can count on.

Lord, I believe! Help my unbelief. Increase my faith. Amen.

Read and meditate on John 11:1–44

 © 2018 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.