Laying the Path
My family and I recently redid the path going from our driveway to the front entrance of our home. Bill, my husband, took our 11-year-old son to the local DIY store and crammed about 800 lbs. of pavers into the back of the Excursion. My daughter and I were ready for their return, and over the next few hours, we fell into a rhythm of preparing the area (sweeping away mulch, cutting roots that were in the way, etc), carrying the pavers, and placing them in position. Oh, and sweating. Sweating is a big part of any outdoor project in July in Texas! One step at a time, we worked our way across the yard together and the path took shape. Looking behind us, we could see the completed section, and looking ahead, we could see the goal – arriving at the front door.
The Right Path – Acknowledge Him in All Your Ways
This process of laying down a stone for our feet to stand on and creating the path one step at a time made me think of Proverbs 3:6. You know it – Proverbs 3:5-6 must be on every Most Often Quoted Scriptures list! Verse 6 says:
“In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”(NIV)
What are our ways in which we could choose to acknowledge Him and His lordship? I began to think, and brainstormed these – I’m sure you can add to the list:
Parenting/relating to our children
Media consumption (social media, movies, books, the internet, etc)
What other ways can you come up with?
I see each one as a choice that pops up, many in each day. Each time we choose to acknowledge God in that “way”, another stepping stone is laid down as firm footing for our feet. We cannot see the path ahead because it hasn’t been laid yet. But each stone reverently placed, putting God first, means He is making our path straight.
When the Path Isn’t Straight
Oh, it may not LOOK like a straight path. His leading may take us places we would rather not go – over mountains of great difficulty, through dark valleys, through fire and water and hair-raising danger.
We might ask what happened to our “straight path” if that is how He leads.
The answer to that question lies in the destination.
Destination determines direction.
The destination for our lives, and what God is taking us straight to, is maturity. Conformity to the image of Christ. This destination means that His “straight path” probably won’t look like very straight to us. If given my say about things, the direction for my path might be formed out of shallow desires for brevity and comfort. Might make for an easier journey, but that path would take me to a completely different destination. Laying the stepping stones one selfish decision at a time, I would surely derail myself from my true purpose.
His goal for my life may mean some twists and turns and steep, breathless climbs over sharp rocks. It may not LOOK straight to me, but it is leading me straight where He wants me to go.
The Journey and the Destination
With God, the journey and the destination are inseparable. There is no destination without the journey it took to get there. His destination can only be arrived at by taking His path.
If I want to go to California to visit my aunt, I have a few options. I can hop on a plane and fly there. I can load up the car and drive there. Back in the day, I could have hitchhiked there. I could ride a horse (Well – that’s stretching things). Each one of those possibilities would take me a different route but they all have the potential to deliver me to the desired destination, my aunt’s front door. The destination, in this case, doesn’t depend on the nature of the journey.
But for your life and mine, the destination is a culmination of what came before.
Every choice to acknowledge God, to die to the flesh, and to put another stone in position adds up to the final destination that is a culmination of the journey – our looking like the Jesus we adore.
Dear friend, be encouraged that your daily choices matter. In ways that seem invisible, your determination to honor God will cause you to arrive at your destination. Even when no one sees, and even (especially) in private matters, acknowledging God in all your ways will create the path your feet need to walk on.
Read verses 5 and 6 together now:
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6, NIV)
We can’t trust both in God and in our understanding of things simultaneously because they will often seem at odds. Trusting Him with our whole heart will resultingly fuel our ability to acknowledge Him in all our ways, and will take us to the destination He has planned for us.
A hard road? Sometimes, yes, harder even than we think we have the strength to endure. But the same Jesus who for the joy set before Him endured the cross will strengthen us to faithfully traverse our own path. May His joy be yours today as you toil to place those stones for your own beautiful journey.
May He strengthen you to persevere faithfully, to endure patiently, and to pursue wholeheartedly. May your eyes catch a glimpse of the warmth and love in His eyes as He sees your daily choices to take the hard road and follow Him, even in the midst of pain. May your heart know His longing to lead you to the home He is preparing for you, and to bring you there fully mature and complete.
Oh, friend, the destination is so worth whatever it takes to get there.
With faith, hope, and love,