On the Outer Banks in North Carolina, there are two main roads for traveling north to south. Highway 12 (a small two-lane road known as the Beach Road) runs parallel to the ocean and is a picturesque route featuring rustic beach cottages, small mom-and-pop venues, beach access points, sea oats, and stunning ocean views. The Bypass (Highway 158) runs parallel to the beach road and features five lanes of rushing traffic, crowded strip malls, touristy establishments, too many traffic lights, grocery stores, and more chain drug stores than you would think a place with such a small permanent population would require.
The speed limit on the Beach Road is 35 and on the Bypass it is 50. (Unless it is a crowded Saturday in the summer, in which case the functional speed on both roads is 35 or under.) That is when locals turn to one another with a confidence born of experience and say, “Take the Beach Road.” Local wisdom figures that if 35 is the fastest you will be able to go anyway, you might as well enjoy the view.
Actually, there are many reasons to take the Beach Road. The charm, the salty ocean breeze, the views, and the sound of waves crashing on the shore all serve to calm the spirit and refresh the soul. And you won’t encounter people not knowing how to navigate the tricky middle turn lane as you would on the Bypass.
“Take the Beach Road” has become a metaphor for making life choices that slow down your pace, help you to breathe, focus your attention on the glory around you, and relax.
You remember how to relax, don’t you??
In Paul’s second letter to the church in Corinth, he addresses a choice that they are facing. Will they continue to live under the law of Moses, with its multiple red lights, its complicated turn lanes, and its lack of freedom, or will they choose the glory of the Beach Road that is freedom in Christ Jesus?
2 Corinthians 3 (Common English Bible)
12 So, since we have such a hope, we act with great confidence. 13 We aren’t like Moses, who used to put a veil over his face so that the Israelites couldn’t watch the end of what was fading away. 14 But their minds were closed. Right up to the present day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. The veil is not removed because it is taken away by Christ. 15 Even today, whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their hearts.
The law of Moses can only take you so far. But when the veil of that law is removed, freedom of movement is available through the opening of the veil by Christ’s actions on the cross. Remember when the curtain in the Temple was torn in two pieces from top to bottom at Jesus’ death? Come on in.
You can be forgiven.
You can be redeemed.
You can move forward in hope and confidence.
16 But whenever someone turns back to the Lord, the veil is removed. 17 The Lord is the Spirit, and where the Lord’s Spirit is, there is freedom. 18 All of us are looking with unveiled faces at the glory of the Lord as if we were looking in a mirror. We are being transformed into that same image from one degree of glory to the next degree of glory. This comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
Through repentance and confession, we are invited to turn back to the Lord and experience the glory of forgiveness and redemption. And so we never need to be discouraged, because mercy is always just ahead at the next intersection.
4 This is why we don’t get discouraged, given that we received this ministry in the same way that we received God’s mercy. 2 Instead, we reject secrecy and shameful actions. We don’t use deception, and we don’t tamper with God’s word. Instead, we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God by the public announcement of the truth.
Whatever road you are on right now, don’t get discouraged. Take a moment to breathe. You can find hope in the Spirit and have confidence that if you are staying in a lane that leads to Jesus, you are on the right road. And if life’s troubles and complications have you exhausted today, pause for a moment, breathe deeply, and take the Beach Road.