Saturday, January 25, 2020

Facing the Dead Ends - Martin Wiles

The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.” Psalm 32:8 NLT

We walked into the large hole, light quickly giving way to darkness, until a gated wall barred our progress—and beyond that, a granite wall.

Work began on Stumphouse Tunnel in 1853. Builders intended for a railroad line to run from Anderson, SC, to Knoxville, TN. Fifteen hundred Irish miners lived in the Tunnel Hill village atop the mountain and worked to cut through the mountain’s blue granite to build the railroad. Four shafts allowed the miners to cut through ten rock faces at one time. The mountain’s granite was relentless. At peak performance, workers only cut out 200 feet per month.

But work on the tunnel reached a dead end in 1859 when the South Carolina legislature decided not to fund the construction any longer. Clemson University acquired the tunnel in 1951 and cured blue cheese there for several years. Now, the tunnel is merely a tourist attraction managed by the city of Walhalla. A place for people to marvel over dead ends of the past … a place for pranksters to write and spray paint their names.

The psalmist was no stranger to dead ends, but the Lord assured him he would guide him along the best pathway for his life—one that wouldn’t end in a dead-end. Like the psalmist, and other before and since him, I’ve faced my share of dead-end endeavors but at the same time experienced God’s guidance.

Sometimes, dead ends come because of distractions. As construction on the tunnel continued, things heated up between the North and the South, eventually erupting into the Civil War—something more important and more expensive than a tunnel. These distractions, whether good or bad, can lead me to dead ends. What I thought might satisfy, doesn’t.

At other times, we can reach a dead end because we’ve given up. Our pursuit is too difficult. We get tired, disappointed, depressed. Perhaps, the journey wasn’t in God’s will after all. So we give up and find another tunnel to work on.

As difficult as reaching dead ends is, they provide an opportunity for God to open up new opportunities. When we reach the end of ourselves, He picks up where we can’t take another step. His wisdom is sufficient to solve the dilemma we couldn’t. And He is more than willing to give direction if we only ask.

When you face your dead end, let God show you the way out.

Prayer: Father, we believe that life’s dead ends merely give You the opportunity to do for us what we couldn’t do for ourselves.

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1 comment:

  1. Waiting to see where He takes me from my recent dead end!!