The Great Divide

Aerial view of mountains that form a part of The Great Divide

These mountains, just west of Helena, MT, form part of the Great Divide of the Americas

A few weeks ago I flew to Montana and, just west of Helena, I crossed the Great Divide of the Americas. In the north, we call it the Rocky Mountains. In the south, they name it the Andes Mountains. This 10,000-mile-long geological colossus runs from the Bearing Strait in Alaska to the Strait of Magellan at the tip of South America and rules both continents in surprising ways.

Take the rain, for example. Billions of drops hurtle down upon the Divide. One inch of rain in a small, ten-acre shower produces a 1,130-ton onslaught. Where will it go? All the drops in a shower might start east, but turbulence pushes some west. Then a gust smacks others back east. Those collide with other drops and dive west. At the ridge, some ricochet off pine needles and tumble back to the east, hit rocks, and slide into the trickle feeding a stream that joins a creek, connects to a small river, then another larger flow, and, days later, melds with the Atlantic. Others miss the first trees and flow west. Despite their original trajectory, the Divide determines their end. All rivers on the east side of the Divide flow toward the Atlantic and on its west the Pacific—destinations thousands of miles apart.

But raindrops have no volition. They go where forced. I, on the other hand, possess the gift of free will. I get to choose my direction. Some choices are obvious—eat or not, sleep or not. Others present themselves more subtly, such as should I…

Be kind or harsh?
Tell the truth or deceive?
Be thankful or dissatisfied?
Stand for the helpless or ignore them?
Identify myself as blessed or victim?
Be generous or stingy?
Do my best or just enough to get by?
Be intentional or go with the flow?
Do life with God or without him?

Each divide, clear or faint, nudges me one way or another. There’s no middle ground. The route I select leads to a second divide, a third, a fourth, and so on until all my chosen paths accumulate and become my life’s direction. Just as when I crossed the Great Divide and checked the airplane’s compass, in life I have to confirm that my heading is taking me where I want to go.

So, what divides in the path ahead are you ignoring?

Deuteronomy 30:19; Luke 6:45; 1 Kings3:10-13

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