The scene in the photo depicts the signage facing drivers as they approach the fork at the end of the west-bound I-84 in Portland, Oregon. Four clear options present themselves, along with a few others left unstated. The most obvious are north I-5 vs. south I-5. Plus, southbound drivers can veer off into city center or, despite no clear indication by the signage, they can make as if they will head toward city center, but choose instead to head into the Central Eastside Industrial district which boasts the famous OMSI (Oregon Museum of Science and Industry). Yet, other less obvious options are available, too. They could head toward the Rose Garden Arena via the northbound exit, or even stay northbound for quick connections to both the Northwest Industrial Park and the Swan Island Industrial Park. So many options with little time to decide. Indeed, drivers must choose before they make their final approach, or else their margin for change will rapidly shrink until it becomes too dangerous to alter course.
Life presents us with forks in the road. Some are of our own choosing. Some are not. It helps to scout the lay of the land. I do this when preparing for new driving routes in the city. It is easier to scout on a non-business day in my small car, than in a truck during rush hour. It gives me confidence when the rush hits. I know which routes to choose and what options are available in the event of lane closures on certain roads.
Life isn’t nearly so neat and tidy, I know. There are the variables of relationships and dreams, responsibilities and opportunity. Most important is our obedience to the Lord to whom we will give an account. So, as I attempt to navigate my future, I do so with my heart inclined to sense his heart through Scripture and prayer. Yet, I also keep in view that he has given me a mind and will, capable of initiating creativity which honors him in the specific actions to which I commit. As I look forward I see a cloud of mystery, but I also sense opportunity. To the degree I choose to be faithful to Christ, that opportunity will manifest in ways that honor him. I desire no other alternative. I only want to follow Jesus to the end of my days in a way which will encourage others, likewise, to take up their crosses and follow him. If the forks in the road I choose cause him to increase and me to decrease (John 3:30), then that means my life will have counted for something that matters.