George Bowers Sr. The eternal continental divide
Over the last few weeks, winter storm after winter storm has rolled into the northeastern U.S. and blown across the country dumping more than a foot of snow and inches of rain from west to east. As I write this article, yet another threatens to add additional inches of snow on top of already deep drifts in the northeast. While all the moisture comes from the same storm, what determines where each drop eventually ends up?
The obvious answer to that question is the location in which it lands. If it falls west of the Rocky Mountains, it will flow into the Pacific Ocean. If it falls between the Rockies and the Appalachian Mountains, it will flow into the Gulf of Mexico and if it hits the ground east of the Appalachians, it will make its way to the Atlantic. Although these divisions might not seem like much to us, for a tiny drop of water, the implications are enormous.
Along the spine of the towering Rocky Mountains there is an imaginary line known as the Continental Divide. It separates the Pacific and Atlantic watersheds and I’ve stood on top of this and crossed over it. When a raindrop or snowflake falls near it, a slight breeze in one direction or the other can determine the location of its existence for centuries to come.
This simple truth reminds us of the importance of choosing wisely when facing life’s choices. Although at the time, the initial difference might seem minute, the eventual outcome of a particular decision can be enormous. Life’s choices are made along lines of division that include what morals we will live by, what friends we will hang around, what we will spend our money and time on, and whom we will marry. All of these decisions greatly impact where we will be in 10, 20, or even 70 years.
The decisions made in young adulthood especially influence the courses of our lives. Whether or not to enter college, where to live, and what occupation to pursue are major lines of demarcation that will direct our flow and eventual outcome. Thankfully, we can change course more easily than inanimate raindrops, but it is more difficult to do so after we are halfway down the mountain.
The most important decision in life lies along an eternal divide. If we choose to follow Jesus Christ, he assures us of an everlasting home with him in heaven. If we reject him, we travel in the opposite direction ending with eternal destruction and suffering. Each of us faces times in life when this choice is clear and obvious and these crises of faith, like the Continental Divide, force us to choose. Unlike a lifeless drop of rain or flake of snow, however, we each possess freewill to determine which side of the eternal mountain we will select, knowing the destinations as well as the watercourses to reach them are very different.
Thankfully, God offers multiple opportunities to change directions, for unlike the irreversible flow of Earth’s rivers, we can leave our sinful creeks at any time and join Jesus’ stream of living water. Unfortunately, if we refuse to do so at those mountaintop experiences, it usually becomes more difficult later as we grow heavily invested in our lifestyles. Though not impossible, turnarounds become progressively harder. The great news is that God offers spiritual power beyond our own to pick us up out of our chosen destructive rivers and relocate us to his spring of everlasting life.
As we watch the storms blow across our great nation, thank God for the way he waters the Earth. Trace the divides that determine the courses of precipitation and remember that a drop’s destination is determined by where it lands. And remember also that your decision to follow or not follow Jesus will likewise determine your eternal destination. All streams do not lead to heaven, but only that one who claimed to have living water and who said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Blessings, George
George Bowers Sr. is the Senior Pastor of Antioch Church of the Brethren and has authored ten books including his latest, Valley Verses, Volume IV which is available at Four Star Printing and Shenandoah Stuff. He can be reached through www.georgebowersministries.com or at firstname.lastname@example.org.