THE PATH OF LIFE
One thing that is noticeable about modern roads and transport systems in general, is that they are designed to run in straight lines and get from A to B as fast as possible. Point A and point B are usually cities, towns and other places of civilization. Man takes great delight in great engineering feats to tunnel through hills and builds bridges to make the journey fast and straight.
What a contrast with nature where straight lines are rarely seen. Indeed the creation of God is just the opposite. Consider plants, from the smallest lichen to the tallest tree, they are full of graceful curves. No two leaves are the same even on the same plant; no two plants are exactly the same. All animals differ even amongst their own kind and no two faces are exactly the same even amongst twins. We can look up and be in awe of the heavens, star differs from star and far from being laid out in neat order they are scattered in delightful proliferation throughout the heavens. Even a rainbow, the sign of God’s covenant that He should no longer destroy the earth with water, is a graceful arc in the sky, or a beautiful circle in the air from an aircraft. When walking through this bountiful creation of God, the curving path through wood, glade and field delight far more than a straight uninteresting path. Indeed the subtle shades of colour, light and darkness, derive from the natural shapes of nature. Who really gets pleasure from traveling on a motorway or walking the streets of a city, yet most derive pleasure and peace from a walk in wood or meadow or across moor and mountain, though such paths are harder to follow.
The path of life is not an easy one to follow. It is not a straight one that is carefully laid out so that the journey is made easier and shorter. This path is a difficult one to travel upon and to use the Lord’s description the gate leading to this path is not easy to find. Jesus said: “small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Matthew 7:14. The gate is small and permits entry one at a time, in contrast with the broad way of man’s devising. Many find this way and travel upon it, many forsake the narrow way to travel the easy way. Yet those whose hearts are open to God’s wisdom will see an unparalleled beauty and joy in walking the narrow way.
Now a believers life will not be smooth, their path will be uneven, nay even rugged at times. Their path will definitely not be easy. They have committed to follow one whose way was anything but smooth. The life of the Lord Jesus is a graphic illustration of the “narrow road that leads to life”. Jesus attained perfection through many tears and trials. He walked parts of that path that we would fear to tread. Jesus knew times when his life’s work appeared to be in jeopardy. He knew the uphill struggle when Peter denied him and his disciples all fled and forsook him. He trod the rugged mountainous section of the path, sheer on both sides and with few handholds, when he faced the crucifixion. But that rugged, obstacle strewn path, broadened out at the journeys end into a vista so gloriously beautiful it defies description. Was Jesus path worth it? O, but of course it was, for Jesus “who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame” is now set down at the right hand of the throne of God”. The path for Jesus turned from death and despair, to resurrection and life.
It is this path that we have been invited to tread. It will have it’s many twists and turns and we shall find few companions upon it. Of the few companions we have, some will turn back for the route perceived to be easier, they will join the jostling throng on the broad way and wonder why we do not follow. The saddest thing of all is that they may not even perceive it to be the broad way of Christ’s warning, but justify, in all the ways that man does, as to why they should be there.
But for those who find and remain on that narrow way, they see joy and peace in the scenery about them. They have no time to fear the heavily shaded parts of the path, the ruggedness of the way or the dangers on either side of the path. They are looking keenly for something and here and there they find what they seek. The signs that say “this is the way walk ye in it”, the signs that the Lord carved out when he trod that path so long before them. The Lord Jesus is their guide and they are content to follow his directions, for like him they look to find the broad expanse of the Kingdom to come. For such, to travel upon the narrow way now, is but a minor inconvenience on the way to their journeys end.
So be neither enticed nor discouraged by the world and its ways. Don’t be enticed or discouraged by those who wander from the path and tempt you to follow. Don’t be enticed or discouraged by those who wonder at the lonely path the faithful tread. The broader the way, the more bitter the journeys end. The narrower the way, the sweeter the journey shall be for the promise is: “fear not little flock it is your fathers good pleasure to give you the Kingdom” at the end of the path.