The Roundabout

September 12, 2016
by Robin Ross

At the end of June, we had a wonderful opportunity to visit the countryside of Italy. We exulted in the sense of history as we visited ancient villages perched atop extinct volcanic buttes with steep cliffs and walls for protection from invasion. With family as interpreters, we were introduced to Italian traditions, culture, and language. Many stores closed at 1 p.m. and reopened at 4 p.m. or as late as 7 p.m. People were still sitting outside restaurants after midnight. One store would sell fresh bread, while another would sell meat, and another vegetables, all within walking distance. We never did see a supermarket, and everything was closed on Sunday.

In Italy, the price of fuel is high, so most cars are small, many use diesel, and almost all have standard transmissions. Having driven only automatic for years, standard was a challenge. Another challenge was the roundabouts! In the middle car of a three-car convoy, a couple of times, we found ourselves at a loss as to where the lead car had gone. Pre-occupied with avoiding traffic coming from the left and starting in the right gear, when it was clear to go, we would look back at the lead car, which had either disappeared or become indistinguishable from other black cars going off in every direction. Not being sure of which exit to take, we were forced to choose, and twice we chose wrongly.

What we noticed after taking one wrong turn was that we were on a very narrow, restrictive street that did not afford us the opportunity to stop or turn around in the heavy traffic. We were stuck going in the wrong direction, and we had no way of going back to try a different exit. Fortunately, the car following us was equipped with a GPS, and we were eventually able to be reunited with the lead car.

I considered how this event was such an analogy with life as we must live it. The choices that we make are so often ones that we must stick with — ones that change the direction of our life with no going back: the person that we marry, the career that we choose, the children who are born to us. In other cases, we make bad moral decisions, choosing enticing actions that look good, but prove to be destructive and disastrous. In all our decisions, failure is possible, and we may feel like idiots for the choices that we have made. However, unlike travelling those restrictive streets, we can always turn around and go in God's direction. We have a God for Whom all things are possible. When we turn to Him, He has promised that He can bring good even out of our failures.

Romans 8:28 – And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. (NKJV)

With such a promise, we must never continue to live feeling like failures.

Prayer: Lord, we thank You that You are able to use even our mess-ups for Your glory. Rather than living in the shadow of our mistakes, bring us out into the sunshine of Your love and forgiveness. In Christ's name, we ask it. Amen.

About the author:

Robin Ross <rross@telus.net>
Mission, British Columbia, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Wow, that must have been very interesting driving in Italy.


    Great words of encouragement Robin. Thanks for your work.


    Sounds to have been a most rewarding and worthwhile trip all around!


    Robin
    I enjoyed this!


    Great analogy; although we cannot undue our mistakes, hopefully we will learn from them. Blessings.


    Thanks, Robin! I remember a cab ride in Istanbul where the driver made a wrong turn, and in his limited English, said he must “repent!”
    Blessings.


    Robin, What an interesting story with a most wonderful ending: out of the shadow of regret over our circumstances into the light of opportunities that God prepared. I must remember this story and share it with others.


    Very interesting. The roundabouts are very challenging in Britain, plus they drive on the opposite side of the street! But, it is well worth the challenges!
    Blessings.


    Thank you Robin for this timely reminder, even as I am presently trying to change the direction of some of my poor choices.
    I know with God all things are possible so I turn these mistakes over to Him and ask for His strength to do what I cannot do on my own.


    Wow. Very well written! And how true it is.
    Thank you for sharing.
    I will take it one step further … I thank God every day for all the wrong turns and “realignments”. As those wrong turns/dead ends are all there for a reason. The key is getting on a track that aligns us with the bigger plan. His bigger plan.


    Sounds like a wonderful trip. I too have been confounded by roundabouts in Scotland! Thanks for the analogy to life and our choices. This year I went on a Baltic Cruise. It too was a wonderful cornucopia of history and architecture.
    I do enjoy the Daily Readings. Thank you for all your efforts and those of many others!


    Ah, roundabouts! In the early 1980s, my husband and I encountered them in England. These baffling traffic control tools provided easy access, but much more difficult egress. One time, I thought we’d be on the thing until the Lord returned! Sin is like that roundabout, easier to get into than out of. PTL for Jesus and grace. Thanks for sharing this devotional with us. Brought back memories for me. Blessings.


    Hi Mr. Ross,
    Glad to see you are back safely. This reply is not so much a spiritual one as a practical one about the stores in the town where you were.
    When we lived in Vienna the stores were open from 6:30 am till 1:00 pm and then opened again at 6:30 pm till later in the evening. It was wonderful and the stores were closed all day Sunday as well. You could not buy a loaf of bread in the city of three million people on a Sunday.
    How good it would be if it could be that way again here in this country, people not having to work on Sunday! It would be so great, it would give more people the opportunity to attend church if that was their wish.
    Blessings.


    Dear Robin,Thanks for telling us how we can always turn around and go in God’s direction. Rather than living in the shadow of our mistakes, bring us out into the sunshine of Your love and forgiveness.
    Lord, please save us from living in the shadow of our mistakes, and bring us out into the sunshine of Your love and forgiveness.
    I hope people read this sentence as I am sure you intended it to thought when it was read.


    Robin, What an interesting story with a most wonderful ending: out of the shadow of regret over our circumstances into the light of opportunities that God prepared. I must remember this story and share it with others.

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