The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship.” Psalm 19:1
It seemed like the end of the road…but it wasn’t. My wife Judy and I live in Southern Illinois. I know, when you think of Illinois you think about Abraham Lincoln and Chicago but believe me there is a whole lot more to Illinois than that. The part of Illinois that we call home is south, way south. Our nook and cranny of Illinois, which is right at the Shawnee National Forest, is crammed full of natural beauty. Lush forests, rock bluffs, waterfalls, and hiking trails galore are but a few of our treasures.
Often Judy and I will get in our car and just drive. One of our favorite drives takes us up to U.S. Highway 1 heading east. The area is pure country with plenty of green scenery and rolling hills. The road ends in a small town called Cave-In-Rock. There are a few stores, a couple of restaurants and, you guessed it, a large cave in a rock. The story goes that the cave was used by river pirates. Fess Parker’s movie, “The River Pirates” was filmed there. It is really worth seeing. But there is one more thing that grabs my attention.
You see, U.S. Highway 1 ends at Cave-In-Rock and it ends by running right into the Ohio River. You are traveling down this really, nice road and all of a sudden…boom…you’re done…no more road. The end. But guess what? It’s not really the end because right there in town where the road ends, is an old fashioned, but fully functioning, ferry. It is provided free of charge for those who need to keep going to the other side…to Kentucky. It turns out, about every 15 or 20 minutes the ferry makes a run carrying people to the other side. So, what you thought was the end…wasn’t.
Today I did a funeral for a real nice lady and told the crowd gathered there that it seems when we go to cemeteries that all the headstones seem to say, “The end” but I told them that isn’t necessarily so. I told them that the end didn’t have to be the end, but rather a new beginning. I also told them about how a man, a man we shouldn’t know anything about, changed everything by dying and then coming back to life. I told them that He promised that if we would believe in Him and what He did, that He would give us life eternal, too. That means that death isn’t a dead end, but a way for us to get from here, where things are broken, to a place called heaven where they aren’t.
I know, I know. Sound a little old fashioned? Sound a little archaic? But maybe it should sound like something else…like hopeful. Maybe, just maybe it is worth checking out. Some people think things like God, heaven and hope are just crutches to lean on, but I think something different. I think they are a reality…something that each of us need to look into. When I look around at all this beauty in my part of the world, I just get the sneaking suspicion that it is too grand to be an accident. When I look up and see a zillion stars, they all seem to be saying, “Hey, God created us.” Yup, I have a feeling that it was created by Someone. Amazingly a whole chunk of the world agrees.
I hope this Grits might at least stir your interest in the hope that Jesus can give. I mean it is worth checking out since 100% of us are going to come to an end out there somewhere. Why not check it out? God can handle our doubts and accusations so don’t worry about offending Him. Go to Him with your questions and listen carefully. You might just hear a gentle whisper as He tells you He loves you and yes, “He’s got this.” Bro. Dewayne