Major David Allen | Choose Your Ruts Carefully
For many Canadians who venture onto our winter highways, ‘white knuckle driving’ is a common experience. Between freezing rain warnings and whiteout blizzards, there are days that we’d rather not be on the roads. Living in the heartland of Canadian winters, Winnipeg, Manitoba, I’ve come to discover a third driving hazard; the snow-packed, ice slick ruts that so readily form on our streets when winter is at its peak.
For those who are uninitiated, winter snow ruts may well resemble an inverted railroad track. It’s where the road conditions find a way of steering the vehicle more than the driver. Recently, while trekking home, an adventurous drive from the Training College campus, the road conditions reminded me of an old sign made famous in the north, a stretch of road between British Columbia and the panhandle of Alaska. It poignantly warned drivers; ‘choose your ruts carefully – you’ll be in them for the next 200 miles’.
Choose your ruts carefully. It is, I can attest, much more than sound driving advice! In many ways it is an understanding that our attitudes and choices produce a character; and a character that without God’s help inevitably leads to a destiny. As shared in a recent conversation with a man whose appearance was older than his years confessed; ‘when I was a teenager I really thought I could stop whenever I wanted’. Many years later his path, like the ruts of a winter road, have only deepened.
In many ways, we confessing Christians have courted a myth that freedom can actually be found outside of living with Christ. That the ‘real adventure’, including my private actions and attitudes are simply mine to manage. That the bruised nature of our hearts, including pride, resentment and bitterness can somehow be nursed on its own. In so doing we miss the paradox that we do have the freedom to choose anything, yet because of weakness of our frame, descendants of Adam’s race, we have an inability to stop choosing it. Of those understand the power of sins ‘ruts’ is the Apostle Paul, whom I paraphrase from humanity textbook Romans 7; “the good I want to do I do not, and the unwelcome, the unpleasant I so desperately want to avoid I find myself falling into”.
The truth is, the only thing that can save us, that can free us from our tyranny of ‘image management’ and potholes, is the pure gospel of Jesus Christ. He came to set us free (Galatians 5:1). He alone levels the pavement like on a warm spring day. He alone knows the way that is best for us, offering us the greatest freedom of all. His promise is to offer ‘life and life most abundantly’.
In celebration of driving, let spring begin !
Major David Allen is the newly transplanted Assistant Director of Academic Studies at CFOT. Major David, his wife Major Brenda Allen and three of their children, Silas, Nathan and Noelle, are braving their first winter in Winnipeg!