What looks like the easy way, the way out, the way up, isn’t always the right way. That path strewn with flowers, smooth as a baby’s behind, you know the one that looks sunny and bright, may not be the path that you need to take. In fact most often, in the long run, it isn’t easy at all.
The paths we choose can’t be based on what they look like. We can never rely on our natural senses. The roughest looking road may be exactly the one God would have us walk. I often use the analogy out of the Disney movie “Beauty and the Beast.” There is a place where Bell’s father is faced with two paths. One looks lovely and the other is shrouded in darkness, there is an evil looking mist, and some scary looking trees. The horse is the only one who seems to have any sense, and in our hearts we are screaming “take the sunny path!” However, if we watch the scene through, the path he took was the right path to lead us to our happy ending. It is the same with us. Be led by God, not by our fears, anxiety, or laziness.
So why would God want us to take the road that is less traveled? Is it because He wants us to suffer and fight every step of the way? No. Those pits, road blocks, speed bumps, and glare ice have all been put there by our enemy. He wants to stop us from advancing. That’s how we know we are on the right road. Why would Satan hinder our path to Hell? He hinders our walk to the Abundant Life, the road that leads us into a deeper relationship with our Heavenly Father. Our enemy doesn’t just try to impede our way, he also tries to distract us from the path. If he can get us to step off of the path, to try an “easier” way, or to completely suck us in by that sunny little path that leads straight to that beautiful oasis. You know, the one that leads to the sunny beach with a life of ease. Don’t be fooled that life is a mirage! All that glitters is not gold!
So why doesn’t God just sweep our paths clear? After all, He is all powerful. Because He knows what is best for us. He sees what’s up ahead. He knows the people we will influence, the trust and strength we will gain. Simply put, He wants us to be led by His Spirit, to learn to trust and rely on Him. In reality, we will never know how many obstacles He has removed! I know that He has protected me so many times. I put myself in some pretty dangerous situations when I wasn’t living for Him, and He brought me through them all. How much more protection do you think I have now that I have committed my way to Him? There are angels guarding around me at all times. I am confident that they have carried me up an over many pits and snares. God knows we need His strength. That’s why Jesus promised to never leave us nor forsake us. Matthew 28:20 (God’s Word Translation), Teach them to do everything I have commanded you. “And remember that I am always with you until the end of time.”
There were many times in my life when I was tempted to “take the easy way.” I went through things that weren’t easy. My teen years were some of the worst. I struggled with self worth, anxiety, and alcohol and drugs. Several times I almost gave into that voice telling me to “end it all.” Though I had left the path God had chosen for me at the time, He still kept me safe. My marriage is another example. We both came into it with issues and at many different times we wanted to “call it quits.” But, we stuck it out. (Granted sometimes in fear or stubbornness, but God turns it all around for our good.) We found some Godly counsel, many times over the years, and finally went through some deliverance. For years we both lived in a messy marriage, but we knew that God’s best for us and our children was to stay together. This summer it will be thirty years since we said our vows. For about the last ten, they have been better than we ever dreamed of! It was all worth it!
Sometimes the way gets rough. We can’t always see the light at the end of the tunnel. I have been known to say, “enough already” and “really?” Those both directed at God. At times in anger, and other times joking with my Father. Thankfully He is patient and forgiving, and He has a sense of humor. Do we always know why we have to walk such a spooky looking path? No. But can we be confident that God is good and He has our back? Yes.
The more we know Him, the more we know His word, the easier this walk gets. Are all the obstacles removed? No, but His word is a light unto our path. We can see them way ahead of time, so we can be built up and strong in the Lord. Whatever you do, keep walking forward. No turning to the left or the right, and for Heaven’s sake, don’t sit down! Never set up camp in a rough spot. Go through! Let His praises be on your lips. Let your heart be full of His joy. That’s where our strength comes from.