It’s hard to argue this sign. Most everything in
this photo has come to an end. The road. The leaves.
The field. There is not much ‘joy’ about this photo.
The clouds hang low and dark, green grass fading to
This photo perfectly captures an autumn afternoon in
late October. As the golden dogs and I stood looking
out over field once full of life, I could not help
but think of that Socrates quote that goes something
“The unexamined life is not worth living.”
Sometimes in life we come to dead ends. We find
ourselves standing at a place we thought for sure
was the way. We planned everything out perfectly
specifically to avoid something like this: a
sideways square sign telling us you can’t go this
It can be discouraging knowing where we want to end
up has not changed, but how we get there has.
Rather than getting frustrated and angry, offering
unsolicited advice or unnecessary criticisms about
the decisions that got us to the dead end, perhaps
there is an invitation in this sign…in this photo…to
stop and consider how to get going again in the
A dead end forces us to reflect and reexamine the
route that leads us to the stalling of forward
motion. This is the perfect place to look at a map
and review what might be the better way to get to
where we are going. Which might include a great deal
of backtracking. Or it might be a simple turn
Dead ends though don’t always lead to an ending. It
simply reroutes us back to where we needed to be all
along. Which is the story of our faith, right?
Y’all might remember this line from the Gospel of
“And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces
to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the
living among the dead?” The story of God is full of
God’s people taking a few wrong turns and ending up
at what appeared to be a dead end.
But that’s the thing with the story of God, God is
not about ending things with death. God is about
bringing life from death. God is about resurrection.
God is about bringing new life from hearts that lie
Dead ends are there to reroute us. They are there to
prevent us from wandering too far off the road and
ultimately from endangering our lives. Dead ends
remind us of how sometimes we make wrong turns.
Are you on a path with something in your life that
has come to a dead end? Are you in a season where
you find yourself asking, “Well, now what?”
If you are, know you aren’t alone. Many of us have
been there and might still be there looking at our
maps wondering, “Okay, what’s the best course of
action here to get to where I want to go?”
Friends, dead ends aren’t bad. Admitting a road we
are on has come to an end isn't either. Sometimes we
need to reexamine the different roads that make up
our faith journeys and see if they are still the
best routes to our destination.
The destination of course is a life lived in the
love and light of God. Which of course, that road
always leads back to the joy of the Resurrection—the
promise that death is never the ending.
[Adam Quine, pastor of First Presbyterian Church