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Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Watch the Warning Signs

We wound through the corkscrew mountain road on the way to our campground, wishing we hadn’t trusted the GPS to show us the shortest route. One side of the road was a cliff that seemed to reach straight up to heaven. The other side of the road was a sheer drop to the valley below. As my husband carefully eased our minivan around the tight curves, I helped by praying we wouldn’t meet another car and pressing my foot against the imaginary brake pedal on the passenger-side floorboard.

A yellow sign caught my eye as we headed into another snake-like curve. I recognized it as warning us about an animal crossing, but I couldn’t quite figure out what it was. As we got closer to it, the black shape suddenly snapped into focus. The sign was warning us about a cow crossing.

“A cow crossing?” I blurted. “Here? Where on earth would you fit a cow? Do cows climb mountains?”

“I’ll keep my eyes open,” my husband chuckled. I shook my head, picturing the flat pastures and fields back home where cows grazed. I couldn’t imagine why a cow would be on this road. I’d heard of a mountain goat, but a mountain cow? It seemed ridiculous.

We spotted it as we rounded the next curve. A black cow was straddling the yellow line in the middle of the road. I couldn’t believe my eyes. My husband hit the brakes and we stopped about ten feet back from the cow. It gazed at us placidly and twitched an ear as if to ask, “What are you doing here?” My husband finally tooted the horn. The cow gave us a bored look, then ambled over to the cliff side of the road to nibble some grass along the narrow shoulder.

“Guess the sign was right after all,” my husband said.

“Guess it was,” I echoed. Maybe cows climbed mountains after all.

I’d doubted the sign, but the sign was there for a reason. Even though it didn’t make sense based on what I knew, there were cows on that road and drivers needed to be cautious.

Scripture also gives us warning signs. Throughout the Bible, God gives us signposts—warning signs—letting us know what God’s will for us is and advising us to when to use caution.

Some of those signposts come as warnings of what not to do:

“In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.” (Ephesians 4:26-27, NIV).

Other scriptural signposts advise us what we should do:

“Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you” (Exodus 20:12, NIV).

We need to take the commands of Scripture seriously. Sometimes God’s word may make as much sense to us as a mountain-climbing cow. It doesn’t fit with our experience. It may seem out of context. Or perhaps we think if God knew the circumstances we’re in, he’d understand why we can’t obey this particular command. We need to remember that God knows the road better than we do. He knows what lies out of sight around the next curve, and he knows the obstacles we will face better than we do. God gives us his word to protect us, to guide us, and to prepare us for the future he has created us for. When we see warning signs in Scripture, we need to pay attention. Those signs are there because God wants the best for us. The next time you see a signpost in God’s word, will you listen?

Copyright © Leigh Powers, used by permission.

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