The Path

 

            The sovereignty of God is, sometimes, a hard thing to accept.  We would like to think that He rewards good behavior and years of service with worldly gifts and that He punishes bad behavior and dereliction of duty with a withholding of them, but He does not.  The truth of the matter is that there are shortcuts to be had, and many of them pay off.  They yield “pots of gold” that aren’t to be found along the path of God’s way.  But, at what cost do these… “pots of gold” come?  They serve only to lead one further and yet further from the path of God’s way.  And, what of those who stay on the path of God’s way?  Do they not have it easy following God’s way?  Not necessarily so.  Some die a martyr’s death.  Many live lives of poverty.  They are ridiculed for adhering to the confines of “The Path” as it meanders through lavish wide-opened spaces, apparently for no reason whatsoever.  Those who line “The Path” or who have left it to… “take a shortcut” sneer at those who adhere to it, “Hey, idiot, why don’t you just come this way?  The grass is lush and green.  The ground is solid, smooth, and level.  There’s no reason to stay on that silly path and walk way around, nearly in a circle, over there just to get over here.  Come on!  This way’d save you fifty, a hundred, or even a thousand steps.  Come on!  Take the shortcut!”

            So, thinking to yourself, “You know, he’s right,” you take that short cut.  You take those company office supplies home for personal use.  Besides, they owe it to you.  You look a little longer than you “need” to at that girl as she walks away.  You eat that extra helping of food… because it’s so good and you deserve a little luxury.  You take a friend’s prescription medicine because you’ve no time to go to the doctor, it’ll save you some money, and, besides, you’ve done a thorough analysis of your condition and have determined that you do have the exact, same medical condition and situation as your friend.  The “doctor’s” always right.  You convince yourself that there is no reason to… stay on that silly little path and go a thousand steps out of the way, when you yourself can see that it just goes right over there, a mere step or two from where you now stand.

            Well, as you are crossing over the lush, green grass, you notice something else.  You, temporarily, abandon your “walk” to go and check it out.  Having done so, you console yourself to return to “The Path” when you run into some old friends who tell you of a neat little pool at the bottom of a waterfall that they are going to go take a dip into.  This sounds inviting, so you partake.  I mean, it’s a hot day, you’ve been faithfully “walking”, and surely God wouldn’t mind if you took a little dip in a cool pool on such a hot day, right?  As your dip ends and you say farewell to your friends, they invite you to a barbecue.  “Uh, well,” you begin.

            “Come on!” they insist.  “We ain’t seen you in forever; besides, you gotta eat something, don’t you?” 

            “Yea.  I guess you’re right.”  So, off you go… again.  Six or seven beers later, an old girlfriend arrives, and boy, is she looking good these days.  You get to talking to her, and before you know it, you’re lost on Memory Lane!  Can you see where this… “shortcut” has taken you?  Can you see where it is leading?  But, this… “shortcut” is not over yet, for, in the morning, when you awaken, and the weight of what you’ve done come to bear upon you, you’ll have to, somehow, find the path of God’s way again.  And… there is now a sizable distance between where you are… and where you’re supposed to be, and that same terrain that you had to cross to get from there to here, you now have to again cross to get… from here to there.  Some shortcut, huh?

            Of course, not all those who take shortcuts wind up in such a fix.  Just those who awaken and realize that they’ve… gotten off the path of God’s way.  Many a time, shortcutters never awaken to feel the weight of “what they’ve done” burdening them – urging them back to “The Path”.  Instead they allow the weight of their guilt to push them further and yet further from the path of God’s way.  These… “unlucky dreamers” stay lost in a drunken stupor, roaming from one “lucky” find to the next – one happenstance to the next.  Their lives become… directionless though they might not be eventless or… rewardless.  These events – these rewards though are like the “rewards” of cheese in a mousetrap.  They serve only as bait to lure their victims into a false sense of security before the “Snap!” occurs.

            Sometimes, though, there is no “Snap!”  Those who successfully negotiate the trap without springing it are lured into an even deeper sense of security.  They, mistakenly think that… “the gods are smiling upon them” for they… “got away with the cheese and didn’t get caught.”  Though some rats may learn to steal the cheese without tripping the trap, they’re still rats.  They’re still gonna live a rats life, and they’re still gonna die a rat’s death.  The only difference is that one “rat” is just wandering around, lost, in the wilderness just over the rise from the path of God’s way, and the other “rat” is feeding on the crumbs left alongside “The Path”.

            So, why stay on the path of God’s way?  Why not just strike out across the lush, green grass and go your own way?  After all, there’s no guarantee of an easy time or “pots of gold” along the path of God’s way.  Things look, all in all, the same whether you follow Him or whether you follow your own way and “roam from one lucky find to the next – one happenstance to the next.”  So, why stay on… the path of God’s way?  Why stay on the road, when the terrain is such that it’d be just as easy to “drive” from one point to another across the grass and save yourself some time, distance, and “gas money”?

            Heaven, my friends, really is a choice.  There is little difference between the lush, green fields and the path of God’s way that meanders through them save this: “There is no meaning in life as one picks his way ‘from one lucky find to the next – one happenstance to the next’.  Life is a directionless jumble of gluttonous times of plenty, or it is a directionless wandering of want.  There is neither less want nor more times of plenty along the path of God’s way.  There’s neither less pain nor more pleasure, but there is one thing that God can give us as we adhere to His path that no path of our own can ever give us, and that is… direction.

            There is a sense of accomplishment, of purpose, and meaning that comes with the meandering path of God’s way.  It cannot be explained.  It must be experienced, and the only way to experience it is to walk it.  So, take your shortcuts.  Go find your “pots of gold”.  Save yourself those fifty, hundred, or a thousand steps, and when you tire of your wasted wanderings in the wilderness, whether rich or whether poor, you come.  Join those who walk the silly path of God’s way and see if you don’t find what you’ve always searched for – direction, meaning, and a sense of purpose!

 

The Eternity... there is no “End” to... “The Path”

 


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