As we travel the journey of holiness, we'll find joy as we focus on the beauty beyond the guardrails.
I grew up on the road. I still remember the numbers of many highways. Route 66 stretched from the Midwest to California. Route 54 ran from Chicago to El Paso. The 401 would take you from Toronto to Ottawa. Long before U.S. superhighways were known as Interstates, there was Route 1, snaking along a history-laden corridor of Americana. On the West Coast, Highway 101 traversed spectacular scenery and geography from Los Angeles to the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
The highways took us from city to city and town to town as my family spread the message of holiness and hope. In the back seat of old Fords and Oldsmobiles, I saw the signs that made us laugh. "See Rock City" and "Visit Meramec Caverns" adorned the rooftops of red barns across the countryside. The roads were friendly places where weary travelers in vehicles without air-conditioning dined in roadside cafes as the ever-present jukebox belted out a medley of tunes.
The highway of holiness written of in Isaiah 35:8 is a lot like those roads that take us to special places where mind and heart are filled with images of breath-taking beauty. Travelers going through the Big Sur of California face mind-blowing beauty, as well as reminders of danger. The highway through Big Sur spans deep canyons and valleys. Only a guardrail stands between motorists and the depths below. In the midst of beauty, danger is present. Safety is assured, however, if the traveler stays on the road. The presence of the guardrail gives silent assurance of protection from danger.
The holiness message may include guardrails, but it was never intended that we should focus on the guardrails. Instead, we are to focus on the beauty, joy and happiness of lives wholly conformed to a loving God who wants to share His life with each of us. A happy holiness sees the assurance of salvation, the joy of the Holy Spirit, and the fellowship of like-minded believers.
It is a distressing situation when some believers focus on the guardrails, extolling the dimensions of danger while forgetting the spectacular scenery along the highway of holiness.
In this issue of Holiness Today, we take a look at humor. If you haven't laughed in a while, I promise you holiness is completely compatible with happiness and laughter.
David J. Felter, Editor in chief