The path. As I was walking with my daughter today, God gave me a visual. It could just be of her life. Or maybe its for all of us.
“But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life,and only few find it.” Matthew 7:14When we start down our dirt road that leads us down into “Grady Holler” it is fairly wide. It was a road made for driving on. It is rough. It is a country road, but the walk is clear. As I watched Layla Bell with her dogs walking down it, I had little fear. A skinned knee maybe, but no serious danger. She had no fear. She was confident. She could clearly see the way and she didn’t look back to make sure I was still there. She didn’t look to the left or to the right. She was fulfilled with the road she was on. Our walk with God is like this one many times. There are moments, and even full chapters in which we know we are on the path God has laid out for us. It is such a peaceful feeling. One in which many of us wish we could stay in. Easy.Once you go a little further, the road starts to wind. At that point, Layla looked back to make sure I was close. To make sure she was turning the right way. She was making sure the dogs stayed with her.Then there is a point in which we turn into the woods. The road is now gone and we are on a narrow path. Just a beaten down path through the woods, down in the holler. It is colder at this point, as the sun is no longer on us. The dogs are not paying much attention and Layla says “It’s okay. As long as we keep walking this way, they will come.”Wow. Stop. Isn’t that life for ya? How easy is it for us to be distracted with good intentions? It is with a caring heart that we want others to come with us to heaven. It is with love that we don’t want them lost. But if we would have stopped and tried to tell the dogs to come, we’d still be in Grady holler. Yea? It would eventually get dark and the path would be harder to see. It would become blurry. Less clear. Then danger would seep in as night would fall upon us. Creatures that only coral in the night would feel comfortable to come closer, as they would have the upper-hand in the dark. They can see in the dark, where as we NEED LIGHT.So as we continued, of course the dogs followed and the adventure around us became more appealing. There were many distractions that made us curious. One of them being her soccer ball. She was kicking it around, trying to keep it on the path. Every so often, it would bounce off into the woods. Of course, she would wander off with it to retrieve it.The ball. That could stand for so many things. The “ball” could be something that looks and seems completely innocent. Here is what was revealed to me. If it causes you to wander off the path for ANY reason, it is not innocent. It is the tool of the enemy. You could simply be straying a few feet to grab the ball when you get bit by a venomous snake. There is a reason for the path. It was made, with love, for you. So turn away and keep your eyes on the path. BORING! Right? I mean, I like adventure! I like challenge! To allow yourself to think this way, is opening up your mind to the lies of the enemy. I can see every bit of beauty and experience every bit of fun while on my path. God loves us enough to fulfill our every need right there on the path (Psalms 37:4) But see, it’s not the experience on the path I seek, it’s the ULTIMATE experience of meeting Jesus that my heart longs for. Eyes ahead.Layla Bell strayed from the path a few times. Once to see a hollow log. It caught her attention and she had to get closer to really check it out. On her way back to the path, she got stuck by a thorn. She cried. It hurt. But she made it back and went on. She didn’t stray again after that.So what if you stray? I’ve done it. More than once. The enemy knows what catches your eye. He knows what captures your heart. He knows what peaks your curiosity. And sometimes, we go. We stray. Here’s what happens. We realize we have strayed and we have a choice. Go deeper into the woods to explore. The thorns turn into much deeper wounds and the night starts to fall. Or we go back to the path. God never takes the path away, you see. It’s still there. Your path is still there and He is stands, waiting for your return. Arms wide open. So, you can choose to head back to that path. With a small wound from the thorn.Guess what? You can band-aid that wound so nobody knows. OR you can leave it exposed. You can show what happened to you when you strayed, in hopes it will help someone else from doing the same.In the end, its all about choice. Its all about Jesus. If we keep our eyes on Him, the ultimate experience will happen. We all have a path to heaven. Is it narrow. The Bible says that it is. But once those gates to heaven open up they will open WIDE! There will be no danger. No hurt. No pain. It will be FREEDOM.“He will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove his people’s disgrace from all the earth The Lord has spoken. In that day they will say, “Surely this is our God; we trusted in him, and he saved us. This is the LORD, we trusted in him; let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation.” Isaiah 25:8-10