‘Road Closed Ahead, Follow Diversion’; currently one of the most common of all local roadsigns.
The big yellow guessing game has begun. You know the sign wasn’t there when you went out, but now you are informed that the road is closed – but where? Can you get home this way – or not?
Since moving here we have become used to seemingly random road closures and the often, far from helpful, signs that leave the driver wondering where the obstruction is and which way to go. All too often this leads to wasted journeys, heavy vehicles on unsuitably narrow roads, frustration all round. Worse still, miss a sign or a turning and you are lost. I very quickly purchased a good, detailed local map and carried it in the car at all times. Many years ago I lived and worked in Carlisle. More than once, travelling south to see friends or family, I found my plans disrupted by the weather; snow and ice closing the M6. A good set of maps, food, drink and warm clothing were essential winter travelling companions.
Life is full of diversions and road closures; not all on tarmac and not all signposted; some even masquerade as shortcuts. Most famously, perhaps, at the beginning of his public ministry, Jesus found the devil offering him diversions. Forget the long and difficult road ahead, try instant food, a publicity stunt, or just follow me (eg: Matthew 4: 1-11). Later, St Paul found his missionary journey plans diverted by the Spirit of Jesus (Acts 16:6-10) as God had other plans for Paul and his companions. Before I load it all on God or Satan, how often have I diverted myself with enjoyable trivia, to justify putting off a more important but difficult job?
The modern motorist has a wealth of tools to assist in navigating road closures and diversions; from the traditional AA Road Atlas through Satnav and local radio; but we still need to pay attention and know how to read the signs. How much more do we need to trust and understand the tools God gives us to help us navigate the roads of life? Like the yellow signs on the A1120, diversions will come; many will be poorly signed. Do you carry the tools God gives to help you read the signs and safely reach your destination?
Rev’d Philip Payne
The Notice Sheet for 23 July 2023 can be found here.