Our break-away to Chrystal Springs was a wonderful time of seeing beautiful landscapes, lots of animals and birds and most of all relaxing by being away from the normal routine. The N4 has some roads works going and coming, but generally it was good. The road from Belfast through Dullstroom to Lydenberg is much improved with only a few potholes compared to the previous time. Much of the road has been repaired. The road from Lydenberg to Chrystal Springs (Pilgrims Rest) has deteriorated somewhat with many potholes. We took a ride into Graskop on one day. The road there, especially through the pass was relatively bad with potholes. Having said that, all these roads were travelable. All we needed to do was reduce speed and keep the eye on the road all the time because some potholes are only visible when you are almost on top of them.
Today we traveled back on the same route from Chrystal Springs to Lydenberg and then for some reason (maybe the Garmin’s fault), I missed the road to Belfast through Dullstroom, taking the road to Machadodorp instead. Now that road … no … let me phrase this correctly … for many, many kilometers there was some road amongst the potholes. Jenny and our friend then remembered that when they were on a Game Drive on Thursday morning a lady was speaking about a road she hates. It was this road. It is indescribable … the holes were huge … so much so that those huge coal trucks travelled so slowly, zig-zagging from one side to the other to avoid the holes. This is what we needed to do as well. One minute you are on the left (where you should be) and the next on the right, then in the middle … at times traveling so slowly the speedometer did not register a speed.
Further on, there were front end loaders dumping sand into the holes with men raking the sand so that it created small “speed bumps”. Naturally this does not last long because the huge coal trucks traveling at 80 to 100 km unearth the sand. Truthfully, that road needs some skillful driving to prevent damaging the rims and tyres. When we passed through Lydenberg, it amused us when we saw a business with huge boards advertising rim repairs and tyres. Their business must be thriving! The last section of the road before an ‘unknown pass’ was a beautiful road leading all the way to the N4. Although we missed the quaint little town of Dullstroom, we had this new experience of what it means to have potholes with a little road here and there.
Many people think that the Christian life is a bed of roses! For some, when the spiritual potholes arrive, they literally pack their bags and return to the world … but do you know that Jesus never ever promised a rose garden? Rather, He tells us that the going will be tough because whilst you leave the world, the world does not want to leave you … and the enemy knows exactly where you are weak and vulnerable. He knows your breaking strain. Read the Parable of the Soils again … Matthew 13:3-9. Most Christians only “see” the verse:
Mt 13:8 Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.
And its interpretation:
Mt 13:23 But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.
Jesus calls His people to “listen” to the complete interpretation:
Mt 13:18 Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: 19 When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the seed sown along the path. 20 The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. 21 But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away. 22 The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful. 23 But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.
Although the primary intention is about entrance into the Kingdom of God, the secondary meaning ought to be as important to the Christian as to anyone else. You see, the sad reality is that all Christians are subject to all the soil conditions, all the time. The good seed along the path that the birds snatch and eat refers to the person not understanding the Word with the devil snatching what was spoken away. You hear the sermon, you are spiritually in a bad place because of sin, tiredness or distraction and the enemy prevents the “Good Word” from entering your heart. The good seed falling onto rocky places refers to the person who deserts the Sower (Jesus) as soon as trouble and persecution comes because he has turned to the Word of God … and without spiritual depth this person turns away from Jesus. The good seed falling onto the thorny patch refers the person who permits the lack of resources (wealth) to burden him to the point of worry. His focus then shifts to making money … but money is deceitful resulting in this man being unproductive in the kingdom.
The first set of potholes is not preparing sufficiently to hear the Word of God preached. The second set of potholes is when standing for Jesus and His Word you draw trouble and persecution causing you to fade spiritually. The third set of potholes is not trusting God to provide all your needs leading to worry that results in making money your god. The Christian life is paved with spiritual potholes, sometimes small ones and sometimes big ones. The way you handle those potholes is dependent upon how you trust Jesus Christ to steer you around those damaging holes!
Dear God, thank You that when I trust You, Your Spirit guides me safely around all life’s spiritual potholes. Amen.