Unseen Path

by Sheila Keedy

Your road led through the sea, your pathway through the might waters- a pathway no one knew was there!  Psalm 77:19 (NL)

close-up-photo-of-dog-3397939We have a new puppy. Her name is Pearl and she is very strong-willed. (Eye roll!) She does not like to be told no and wants to go her own way.  When we take a walk she has to be on a leash as she runs away if not and we end up chasing her around the neighborhood.  (Double eye roll!)

The leash is her worst enemy.  Pearl does not like following where we lead and the leash takes the brunt of her disapproval.  She has literally dangled in the air as she’s jumped up and clamped down on the leash.  Mercy!  We are going to persevere through this and maybe one day she will come to trust that we are leading her down the best path and will follow more obediently. (And maybe we’ll be able to recover financially from the number of leashes we’ve had to buy.) 

Actually, I’m sure I’m a lot like Pearl.  Looking back over my life there have been paths that I did not want to travel.  Miscarriages, breast cancer, loss of a 17-year-old niece, loss of a parent to name just a few.  Many times though, on these difficult journeys were pathways to ministry, testimonies, sharing and caring.  Pathways I didn’t know would be there, but found hope and joy again in that part of the journey.  And best of all, growing in my relationship with my Healer, Comforter, Savior and Friend.     

Over the last several months, I have worked my way from Genesis to Kings and Chronicles.  I have read story after story in the Old Testament of people whose lives were changed by the power and presence of God.  One example? Sarah at 90 years old having a baby!  Only God could make a way for her when there seemed to be absolutely no way! As the journeys of others like Rahab or Ruth came to an end, I was ready to let out a cheer, or a hallelujah, what great things HE has done! 

Because I see it from this perspective, beginning to end, I sometimes get detached from the difficult details of their stories – the parts where they resisted the path they were on.  I revere them for being such amazing women of faith and perseverance, forgetting they would have struggled just as we do.  They were real women, with real problems and I tend to overlook the reality and pain of their difficult journey because I know the outcome.  They did not.  

Eve – experienced the death of a son. 

Sarah – had to wait for the promise of a child to be fulfilled.

Hagar – cast out and alone.

Leah and Rachel – dealing with sister rivalry.  (and jealousy over a man????)

Rahab – wondered if there was hope for someone like her. 

Naomi and Ruth – grieving the loss of a their respective husbands.

Hannah – longed for a child. 

Tamar, David’s daughter and Tamar, Judah’s wife – wondering if there would be justice for what was done to them. (should you say “sexual abuse” or “rape” for those who may not know?)

Not to leave out the difficult pathways of a few women in the New Testament, think about these: 

the shame of the woman caught in adultery,

the despair of the woman at the well as relationship after relationship fell apart,

the woman with the issue of blood searching for healing,

and the torment of Mary Magdalene before Jesus delivered her.  

Am I trying to focus on their difficulties? Not at all. What I want to draw attention to is this: they had to travel down paths that they didn’t know how long it would last or where it would end. 

We can take heart from their stories for many reasons, but most importantly because we see God was right there with them.  He didn’t miss one part of their journey.  In fact, their paths led to Him.  

Genesis 16:13  So she, (Hagar), called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, “You are a God of seeing,” for she said, “Truly here I have seen him who looks after me.” 

John 20:18 Mary Magdalene announcing to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”

As we read their stories in Scripture, we get to see so many amazing attributes of God such as His faithfulness, grace and mercy.  We get to see that He is Redeemer, Provider and full of love and compassion.  We can be encouraged because what He did for them He will do for you and me. 

Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

When it comes to our story, our journey, we are still in the midst of it.  We may not see or understand the path He is taking us on.  We struggle and resist.  What makes it worse is we don’t know the outcome of our stories like we do those of of the women in Scripture, and we want God to fix things now!  We want to know that what we’ve been through will be worth it.  But, this is where faith comes in.  Faith is believing in the unseen, the unknown.  

Hebrews 11:1 says: “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”  (ESV) 

If you had asked Moses and Israel as they stood on the edge of the Red Sea what they saw, they would have said nothing but water in front and the enemy behind them.  But what happened next changed everything! 

Then Moses raised his hand over the sea, and the Lord opened up a path through the water with a strong east wind. The wind blew all that night, turning the seabed into dry land.  So the people of Israel walked through the middle of the sea on dry ground, with walls of water on each side!”  Exodus 14:21-22 (NLT) 

brown-colour-dawn-environment-132428There it is, a pathway no one knew was there.

“For we walk by faith, not by sight.”                       2 Corinthians 5:7 (ESV)

Whatever obstacle is in front of you, 

whatever storm you may be facing, 

whatever darkness lies ahead, 

whatever deep waters you find yourself in, 

there is a road unseen, unknown, a pathway you didn’t even know was there.   And right there with you is the Lord leading you and walking with you, step by step.  No matter how you struggle and resist, He will not leave nor forsake you.  He will remain faithful.  

Psalm 26:3 For your steadfast love is before my eyes, and I walk in your faithfulness.  

One day, when we look back on the path He had us on, we’ll say along with the women in Scripture, hallelujah, what great things God has done! 

Luke 1:46-49  “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,… for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. 

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Using the Scriptures below, pray them for your journey.  They will comfort you and give you the courage to keep moving forward.   

Deuteronomy 31:8  The Lord, himself, goes before you and will be there with you. He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.

Psalm 23:4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me;…

Psalm 31:14-15a But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, “You are my God. ”My times are in your hand;…

Isaiah 41:10 Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

John 8:12  Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” 

 

The Journey: The Road Less Traveled

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How do you want to be remembered? Boil it down to one sentence – what you would like people to say about you?

Why don’t you write that down in a journal or your planner, or put it in the Notes app on your phone.

Make it a goal.

Often we wander through life thinking things will turn out the way we want while living in a way that prevents that. The road you take in life determines your destination, both literally and metaphorically. You won’t get to New York by taking the road to Atlanta. Nor will you live a life of character while taking the path of sin and compromise. So if you really do have an image of what you’d like to have said about you, are you living in a way to make that become a reality?

If a person’s goal was to be on the Fortune 500 list there would be many steps to take to achieve that: education, training, starting your business, making sound decisions for your company, hiring the right people, and keeping up to date in your field. If you set out to accessories-adult-blur-935943become National Teacher of the Year that would require development as well. It would mean getting the proper education and training. It would also require development in specific areas: classroom management and organizational skills, understanding children and learning styles, getting continuing education and National Board certification, and mastering the dynamics of being a highly contributing, highly respected part of a faculty.

Likewise, if your goal is to be a godly mom, a faithful servant of the Father, a shining light for Christ in your company, or whatever, it doesn’t just happen. It starts with a choice: the choice of committing to Christ above all things. That is followed by more intentional choices including studying God’s Word, pursuing mentoring or training, and taking any other particular steps that would lead you to become the woman you hope to be. It would mean choosing a different path in life, one that would lead people to say of you, “She was a worshipper of God and her heart was open to the Lord,” as scripture says of Lydia in Acts 16:14, or “She was always doing good works and acts of charity,” as Luke says of Dorcas in Acts 9:36, or “I commend her to you. She is a servant of the church and a benefactor of many,” as Paul said of Phoebe in Romans 16:1-2.

The following line by Robert Frost may be one of the most well-known lines of poetry of any American author, and it has been interpreted by many.

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

As we think today of our life, our goals and wishes, it would serve us well to recall this brief line of poetry and to ask ourselves some questions.

In light of what I wrote down a few minutes ago about how I’d like to be remembered, am I on the path that would lead to that being said about me?

If I want a Godly, noble, upright outcome, then am I choosing the path that leads to that?

Is the path I am currently taking today preparing me for what I want to become?

Am I on the path I am today because it is the well-traveled path and I can’t shake the insecure neediness of being like everyone else?

Am I too fearful to choose the path “less traveled by?”

Am I willing to try a better path starting today?

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Frost was correct. The path we are on does make all the difference. God’s word said the same thing hundreds of years before Frost did. It says:

Choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. Joshua 24:15 ESV

          There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.                      Proverbs 14:12 ESV

Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. Matthew 7:13-14 NIV

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Today we have a choice. We can choose to follow along with other sheep happily wandering around the pasture with no direction and no leadership. This is a well-worn, wide path. Or we can choose to follow the Shepherd closely, staying right at His side, listening to His every word, obeying His every command, and making choices that lead us to the lofty goal we desire. It won’t happen in a day, a month, or even a year. But we will find ourselves growing toward that goal of godliness, holiness, and wisdom year by year. So here is the choice:

This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Deuteronomy 30:19-20 NIV

What do you choose? What will be said of you when you come to the end of your path of life? Will you take the narrow way, the road less traveled? It will make all the difference.

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