A highway where cars are banned? I don’t know about you, but when I saw that title on a YouTube video it piqued my interest. It’s one thing to declare that cars are banned from a back alley or road or trail, but a highway? How would people use a highway without a vehicle? Well, the backstory of this fact takes a little explaining. The highway in question is actually on a small, 2200-acre island in Michigan called Mackinac Island. Now, some of you may have heard of this place and my wife has actually seen it in person. It really does feel like an island from the past. The buildings are all 19th century style, the usual modes of transport are bicycles and buggies, and modern conveniences aren’t prominently displayed. The town leaders have done a lot to keep the early 1900s vibe. And believe it or not, the place does boast its own highway. It covers the whole shore, circumventing the whole island. Back in 1898, right when the horseless carriages were coming on the scene, there was a lot of public fear. People thought the vehicles were loud, cumbersome, uncontrollable, and way too fast to ride safely. They were considered a huge hazard. When one of these new-fangled vehicles spooked a team of horses that ran riot and upended a carriage in 1898, the town council passed an ordinance banning automobiles from the village. Further bans that applied to the surrounding parklands followed in 1901 (“M-185”). And believe it or not, that ordinance is still in effect today even after the construction of an officially recognized state highway on the island. It’s like Mackinac Island has taken nostalgia, that wistfulness for the good old days, to a whole new level. As far as highway rules, it has literally stayed the same as it was in the 1900s.
Now we might chuckle or shrug at a situation like that and be grateful for our modern conveniences. But many of us have had moments of looking back wistfully or wanting to change the steady march of time. We ponder “what ifs” and “not yets” and we wish sometimes that time wouldn’t speed by so fast or we could redo a regretful decision. But we don’t have to live in this frustrated attitude of looking over our shoulder wistfully or regretfully. Second Corinthians 6:2 says, “We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For He says: ‘In an acceptable time I have heard you, and in the day of salvation I have helped you.’ Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” Our “what ifs” don’t have to be past-focused. We can look on our present situation with an excited “what if” attitude. What if today I started a new habit of praying proactively to Jesus? What if today was full of little moments of open conversation with God? What if today I started sharing simple Bible promises with several of my friends? There are a lot of today-focused possibilities that don’t have to be out-of-reach. They can become a reality with God’s sustaining power!
“M-185 (Michigan Highway).” Wikipedia.org. 23 July 2020. Accessed August 17, 2020. Online. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M-185_(Michigan_highway)#:~:text=The%20highway%20was%20built%20during,highway%20without%20any%20automobile%20accidents.