Life is like a path, you never know what’s around the next bend. It leads through dark valleys and takes you to exhilarating mountain-tops.
It can be scary, not knowing where my particular path of life is leading next.
I don’t much like being the leader on the path. I much prefer having someone to follow.
Last summer while on a prayer retreat with my friend Elizabeth, I had a powerful picture of walking along a beach. I felt alone and vulnerable, out in front. I didn’t like it. But then I looked again and saw Jesus just in front of me, glancing back over His shoulder, beckoning me forward with a smile. He made me to be a follower.
Within four days of arriving home, mine and Adi’s path took an unexpected turn through a short valley. Adi was given notice from his job. Suddenly Fear and Anxiety leapt onto the path determined to be my companions.
But I remembered that I was following Jesus along this path of life. And He has promised to provide for all my needs, including peace in place of anxiety. So I cold-shouldered Fear and Anxiety whenever they got too close, and fought to keep my eyes on Jesus. There were times when ‘what if we can’t keep up with the mortgage?’ filtered through my mind. Then there were moments of real peace when I actually managed to trust God.
Within two and a half weeks, Adi was offered a new job with a great firm. We never even missed a pay cheque. It was his one year anniversary in the firm yesterday.
God knew what was ahead of me, and gave me a powerful experience of Him mere days before I would need to lean on Him completely.
It was a path on which a donkey trod. Palm branches and coats were strewn along it, the Jewish equivalent of a red carpet for a king.
Less than a week later, the path led from an upper room where a special meal had been celebrated among friends, though not all were true, there was an enemy in the camp.
In a garden there were tears, sweat and blood, and then the betrayal of a close friend.
Six trials – a mockery of justice – and the bloody trail to an execution hill. Nails, a hammer, and a crown of thorns. Rejection of a Father for the sake of many sons and daughters who would benefit from the One Son’s obedience.
A violent death, a borrowed grave, a hushed holy Saturday.
But Sunday is coming.
Paths are exciting. I love wandering off the beaten track, whether it be in woods or a city. Side paths can be so alluring, I wonder where this leads to...
In Lord of the Rings, Gandalf tells Bilbo that setting foot outside your front door is an adventure. You never know where you might end up.
That’s true, isn’t it?
A path can lead to a dental appointment, a university degree, a first date, a wedding, a funeral, shopping, a job interview, redundancy, coffee with a friend.
The path through life has twists and turns, goes uphill and down. I never thought I would be someone who lost her job through illness. But that was where my path led. I dreamed of working for myself from home, and this is where my path has brought me. For now.
The Bible says that it is God who makes our paths straight, and I believe that. He is the One who can make the mountains low – or move them out of the way altogether – and raise up valleys to make a straight, level road. There is a verse that says His Word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.
I don’t believe in fate. But I do believe in Someone who loves me like crazy and has good plans for me. He is the One who orders my steps, steadies me as I walk along, and guides me along this path of life.
Jesus’ path led Him up a hill to a Roman crucifix so that He could become the Way to His Father for me. This is the One I love.