My son is out of school this week for winter break. And what a winter break it has been! The sun is out, kids are playing football in the court, and even the air conditioner got a brief workout. Yesterday, I took the kids to the park so that we could pretend spring had arrived. And by the way, if you’re in the area and haven’t been to the little park at Maidu, I must recommend it! It’s awesome. Trains, saloons, and a quaint little jail are just a few of the fixtures completing the Wild West motif.
There’s also a child-sized maze built to look a bit like an old fort. Embedded into the ground below the wooden maze are the paw-prints of various animals: a fox, a badger, a deer, and a bobcat. A sign challenges the children to identify the prints. As I chased Jaz around the park, Justus and a friend attempted to conquer the maze. Their five-year-old minds had concluded that if they followed the animal prints, surely the ghosts of animals past would lead them to the exit. After several minutes, my frustrated son hollers at me,
The animal prints, it turns out, are not a reliable form of navigation. As the two boy-geniuses followed the prints, they ran into wall after wall. Time and again, they found themselves trapped–the only possibility, to retread the footsteps that had led them to failure.
“Which way, Mom?” Justus asked. “Which way do we go?”
I told you he was a genius! See, the maze is child-sized and I have not been child-sized for some time. My considerable height (ha!) allows me to see every path option at once. With just a glance, I know which paths lead to obstacles and dead-ends. I even know which path leads out of the maze. So, after a few misunderstood directions, Justus and his friend make their way to the exit, and their cheesy grins show all the parents at the park just how proud they are to have made it.
The book of Proverbs says this: “There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.”
I’ve been stewing on this Proverb quite a bit lately. It’s hard not to when I see friends walking into decisions that seem so completely right and yet their foundation is not the Word of God. When I put myself in their shoes, I see the perceived wisdom of their choices, but I cringe when I find that their methods do not line up with God’s. I, of course, am not immune to this behavior. In my life alone I could point to countless examples of times when I thought I knew best, when I was convinced that the path I was on was the right path. In the end, I found myself lost, with nowhere to go but back the way I’d come. Like Justus, it took me several tries before I thought to ask for help. Before I looked up and cried, “Father, which way do I go?”
You know, that Proverb is actually recorded twice in the Scriptures–word for word. Someone wanted us to really think about its words. To consider the possibility that the direction we’re heading–while seeming to make a ton of sense–may just lead us to death. With these thoughts in mind, I challenge you to turn your face to the heavens. Maybe you’re staring a monumental decision in the face and know you need help, or maybe you’ve tried one path after another only to beat frustrated fists against dead-ends. Regardless, there’s only one place to go when you’re lost. There’s only one God with the perspective to see all paths from beginning to end. He’s just waiting for us to stop following the scattered footprints and look to Him for answers.
It’s tough, though, isn’t it? That pride thing gets in the way. We don’t want to be wrong. We hate to admit the possibility of it, and yet, I must remind you of one other verse, found in Matthew.
“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it.”
We’re looking for a narrow gate, friends. The odds aren’t good that you’ll stumble across it alone. We all need Christ. He is the narrow gate. The way, the truth, and the life. If we’re to avoid destruction, we must enter through Him.
Join me will you.
It’s a narrow road, but there’s always room for one more.