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Then & Now - Week of April 20

  • 2009 Apr 20

Glad for the Guardrails 
Titus 2:12

When I was about twelve, my family packed up the old Chevy station wagon and drove to Tennessee. From Chicago its about 8 hours or so. This was before the days of Game Boy, iPhones and portable DVD players. We actually had to read these archaic things called books and do this strange activity called, “looking out the window.”

We rarely, if ever, asked, “Are we there yet?” lest we face the wickedly accurate backhand of my father, who was an accomplished multi-tasker. He could drive to Tennessee with one hand and easily enforce the “no fighting with your siblings in the back-seat,” rule.

I’ll never forget, though, how I felt as we approached the mountains of Tennessee. The Great Smoky Mountains, they are called. To this kid, used to living among the flat cornfields of Illinois or camping in the flat wilderness of Minnesota, driving around and thru the majestic mountains of Tennessee was something to behold. To this day I love seeing, walking, hiking and smelling the mountains.

But will say, driving a Chevy Wagon around the tight curves of the Smokies was an adventure. I was glad my sure-handed father was steering the car. I could trust Him. But I was also glad for the wisdom of those of the wise guys who built those mountain highways. They had the foresight to install something incredibly useful: guardrails.

Now, on a flat Illinois road, you don’t appreciate guardrails. In fact, you really don’t pay attention to them. Unless you’re wild or intoxicated, you never know they are there.

But on the mountain highways of Tennessee, you grow to love the guardrails.

Well, God has given us guardrails for life. And while you’re a young teen you probably hate those rails. Parents telling you to be home at a certain time. Teachers telling you to do your homework, study, and apply yourself. Pastors warning about the dangers of sex out of marriage. Older brothers and sisters questioning you about your friends.

But those guardrails are crucial. They are not put there by God to keep you from having all kinds of fun. They are put there by God to keep you from falling into deep trouble. I know people who thought the guardrails were dumb. They ignored them and now there are trying to climb back out of the deep valley to which they have fallen.

Sooner or later you’ll be off the flat prairie and into the mountains of life. You’ll be away at college or be in a relationship or even have a family of your own. Life is scary up there. There are a lot of wrong turns and steep cliffs.

When you’re up there, you’ll be glad God installed those guardrails. They just might protect you from danger.

If you’re interested in what God has to say about boundaries, guardrails, dating, and how they lived out these issues in the Bible—check out my book, Teen People of the Bible. It’s a unique 100-day devo written just for you—with stories from young people in the Bible. Check it out at my website: 

Daniel Darling is an author and pastor with a passion for young people. He is the author of Teen People of the Bible, a 100-day devotional for teens. Visit him on Facebook by clicking here, or at

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