Thursday, August 18, 2016

Walk the Path - Martin Wiles

Mark out a straight path for your feet; then stick to the path and stay safe. Proverbs 4:26 NLT

Though once clear and distinct, the path has now disappeared. 

Paths vary in length and purpose. The Appalachian Trail marches over 2,000 miles of the roughest terrain in the Eastern United States and is traversed by thousands every year. I’ve walked parts of it. The Foothills Trail meanders some 80 miles along the most remote mountainous areas of the North Carolina South Carolina border. I’ve walked all of it. 

But there was another path…one that connected my grandparents’ home with my aunt and uncle’s. Though not many people walked it, thousands of footprints kept it well-worn. Footprints that represented numerous trips for various purposes: to eat a meal, to spend the night, to ask a question, to have a glass of Southern sweet tea, to borrow a cup of sugar, to go fishing, to go hunting, to play in the hog pen. In 1991, one terminus of the path vanished when my grandmother died. Recently (2015), the other terminus moved when my aunt died.  

On a recent and final trip to see my aunt, I noticed the path had vanished. What was once well-worn was now grass covered. No one had walked it since 1991. There was no reason. Strangers had bought and moved into my grandparents’ home. Exactly how long it was after people stopped walking the path that it disappeared, I’m not sure. But eventually, the last sprig of grass crept over the final bare spot, and it was gone—never to be seen or walked again. 

For me, this path between the two homes led to family, fellowship, love, fun, and safety. Other paths have various purposes. The one we must walk to Jesus represents forgiveness and eternal life with the God who loves us. As we walk it, spiritual growth should take place. 

Paths can also take us to new friendships and love relationships. Our life path should lead to happiness and contentment. And, of course, some paths—those that are damaging to us spiritually, emotionally, or physically—should be left alone to grow over like the one between my relatives’ homes. 

Consider the paths you’re walking. Where are they taking you and why? Then walk the path your Creator wants you to. 

Prayer: Father, guide us to the path that leads us to You and then to the path of service. 

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