"That it will never come again is what makes life so sweet."
The sweet milestone. It is a special place of marking. A metaphorical insignia of identity. A guide set on the road as we travel to define distance from one point to another. An event to be remembered in one's biographical journey or a strategic time in the history of a nation. A juncture. A turning point. A place of change. A place of pause for looking, for revealing, for reflection, for remembering.
History tells us that in ancient Rome there was, in the very center of that city, a Golden Milestone. It was a gilded monument established by Augustus Caesar. The precious pillar marked distance in the Empire, for everything was measured to and from the gilded bronze object. "All roads lead to Rome" is a proverb that speaks of the amazing design of Roman roads and their great, winding, distant paths that all led to the Golden Milestone.
As Christians, our "Golden Milestone" is Christ our Savior. Yet, only one road takes us to Him. The way established by our Father in heaven. The confession that we are sinners and helpless to find our way without the forgiveness of Jesus and belief in Him as the Lord of all and of our lives. He is our turning point. A priceless treasure, who changes our way forever. We are never the same after meeting Jesus on our journey. Through Him, our ways are measured and dreamed and planned and found.
And the Lord gives us special marks along our way with Him to signify His loving kindness and mercy. He carves milestones in our lives, special moments that chart our course, turning points that take us to new places unseen by us before. Yes, our gentle Shepherd is always leading, and we are wise to follow, to take the turn with Him, to embrace the fresh, ride the current, skim the heights, accept the novel land. And to not look back. To proceed, dear one, in faith.
Yet, not to proceed is our choice. To look back with regret, to turn back in fear, to run away is always an option. The Holy Spirit will not force God's way upon us. One of the most precious gifts God gives to every one born is free will. Even as followers of Christ we may select. If we do defer our milestones, however, or merely endure the bitter herbs and rocky roads they entail, our destination will be met with relief but without sweet peace and unspeakable joy. And we may just find ourselves on another road where we recognize those same weeds and rocks. I have been there. Yes, I have done that. My own stubborn heart has sent me in circles on more than one occasion.
Today is one more occasion of choice for me. By God's grace, I have set to take this milestone and go with Him without turning my neck to see what has been. God forbid I get a painful crick and mar the opportunity to walk into a sweet phase of life. I hope, with God's grace, to take this bend in the road and follow Jesus fully, continuing toward those places of which Habakkuk spoke. Yes, "the sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights" (3:19, NIV).
My brother, who is forty-six, called me this morning. "How do you feel?" he asked. "I really feel great. It's a new beginning. It feels peaceful," I replied with earnest.
David added, "I bet you feel just a day older than forty-nine." I had to laugh, as I thought, "That really is about it. I'm just a day older than I was yesterday. And I saw an open door this morning that I could not resist walking through."