A number of years ago, my husband and I moved into a beautiful housing development. Sandwiched between the river and a nature preserve, there was just one road in.
One summer, as the river overflowed its banks we sandbagged around our homes and prayed for the best. Giant pumps were moved into our community to try to keep ahead of the flow. A few families (along the river) ended up moving out for a time, but where we were it seemed we'd be okay. Until...
Two large, open fields lined each side of the road coming into the development. Thankfully, the owner had been proactive and moved his buffalo herd to higher ground early on. The decision was made to reroute some of the water to those fields. Unfortunately, the swell was more than they imagined and soon water was flowing OVER the road. It was interesting watching the fish swimming out of the way as you drove through it.
We were all in danger of having to leave if the water rose past those few inches. There would be no way in or out if it got too deep.Thankfully, the road stayed open.
When people get caught up in that argument that there can't be just one way to heaven, I think of our development and know, "Oh, yes there can be." Oprah disagrees.
A few years ago, Oprah got into a discussion on her talk show, and the one way topic was brought up. Oprah believes in Jesus but she doesn't believe he's the only way to God. She said it's not possible. She is not alone in this belief.
Society would much rather have a "many roads lead to God" mentality. It's much easier for us that way. It would have been nicer and easier if my home had many roads to it too. But it didn't. If there was construction, flooding, an accident, or an excruciatingly long stretch where you were only allowed to go 15 mph for nearly a mile, you had to put up with it. My not liking it didn't change the fact. Recently, I heard a far more compelling defense.
David Platt (pastor, and NY Times best-selling author of the book Radical), said something at a recent event that made me appreciate the awe of that one way:
Q: I hear you talk about how loving God is. If he is so loving then why is there only one way to him?...If God is loving wouldn’t he make other ways?
A. (Point to the pursuing love of God) John 14: 6 says, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” [Jesus] didn’t say that out of nowhere. This conversation began a ways back.
[Though they may not believe, ask them to imagine this] Just imagine that there is a God, he’s perfectly good, perfectly loving, everything about him is good, everything about him is lovely. This God worked to create a world, and all these beautiful things, and at the pinnacle of his creation he made a man and a woman, and he said,"I’ve created you to know me, uniquely, to enjoy me and walk with me, and I want you to experience life with me forever."
Imagine one day, that creation were to look at the Creator and say, "I think we don’t want to follow our Creator’s ways. We’d rather do things on our own."
Imagine if the Creator said, "If you turn from me, if you eat from this tree then you’ll experience death. But I don’t want you to experience death, I want you to experience life."
Imagine if the creation were to say, "I don’t think we can trust him."
If they were to eat from that tree and totally turn from their creator. Imagine the creator saying, "I told you if you did this you would experience death, but I have in motion a plan for you to still live."
Imagine this Creator sent people to his creation to bring good news of his love for them. Imagine he called some of them to himself and he said, "I want to enter into a covenant, like a marriage relationship with you, to show my love to you in a way that you would then reflect my love to everybody in the world."
And Imagine those people were to say, "Yes, we want to do that!" (they’re called the people of Israel in the Old Testament).
And imagine the people of Israel are entered into this marriage relationship, this covenant relationship with God, the Creator, and the people were to say, "You know I think we’d rather take our gold and silver and put it together and worship that instead of our Creator."
Imagine the Creator were to send messengers to his people to say, "I love you, turn back from your sin, trust in me."
Imagine if that creation were to take the messengers, sent by the Creator, and they were to stone them, and saw them in two, persecute them.
And imagine after all that the Creator were to commit the ultimate act of condescension and come to the creation himself. Love and care for his creation, serve his creation and make a way for his creation to know the Creator...
and imagine if the creation were to take the Creator himself, in the flesh, and to mock him, beat him, scourge him, spit upon him, nail him to a cross in the most cruel form of death they could imagine.
And imagine in light of all that, the Creator were to say,"To anyone, in all of history, if you were to trust in my love for you and what I did for you then I will forgive you of all your rebellion against me and you can live with me forever."
If that were true, doesn’t it seem a bit bold to look into the face of the Creator and to say, "Why have you only make one way for us?"
Because once you realize the whole story, you realize the question is not, Why have you only made one way, the question is, "Why is there any way at all?"
If you run into someone who has the "many ways" mentality, feel free to share the story of my home, but more importantly that God's home does have just one way in...and the facts behind why we don't deserve that.
“Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent” John 17:3