When off on an adventure to climb to the top of a mountain we often have a choice of paths; I like trails with markers that give a clue as to the terrain whether easy, difficult, or expert climbers only. Alas, many do not give hints, not even if it goes to the top, into a valley, or dead ends in the middle of know where; sometimes paths in life feel this way.
There are paths that seem right but not all lead us where we should go. Simply because there is hardship along the way does not mean we are going the wrong direction; the Lord uses difficulties to shape us, to bring out our character, to refine us. Silver and gold are purified in the heat, precious stones are smoothed as they rub against each other; gems are more valuable as pieces are chipped away so their facets catch the light to reflect their beauty. A path that seems sunny and bright, one of ease and conflict free, does not remove anything stuck to us. There is nothing to buff the dullness away or refine our character; we remain an unattractive stone kicked to the wayside, our true worth never known. The right path is the one that allows us to become a reflection of Jesus, shinning for His glory.
When we head off on a new path it is wonderful to have a guide with us; someone who knows where we are going and the best way to get there, or at least a pamphlet they have written giving instructions and helpful insights. How fortunate we are to have the instruction manual to life, the Bible, and even better – the Author and Guide comes with it. When we are starting off we can, and should, consult with Him on the way to go; knowing we are on the right path when the way becomes challenging will encourage us to continue pressing forward.
Paths are a training ground, a place of preparation for what’s ahead, the next step; it’s a time where areas to be worked on and developed are revealed. We have strengths and weaknesses, strengths have weaknesses and weaknesses have strengths. Strengths need to be tempered with love, humility, and a dependence on the Lord. Our weaknesses show his strength as we develop confidence to give him freedom to use them and move through us. Life is meant to be a partnership, us and the Lord, doing it together.
The Lord has laid out a good way for us to go, one He knows we will take delight in when we follow it. He custom designed it just for us knowing our likes, gifts, talents, and abilities. It has enough challenges to keep us invigorated and engaged, yet not enough to overwhelm us or to be impossible as we walk beside him, seeking his guidance and wisdom.
Shall we set out – it’s the perfect day to venture forth!