Saturday, December 1, 2018

Walking the Wide Path - Martin Wiles

You have made a wide path for my feet to keep them from slipping. Psalm 18:36 NLT

We had no idea our destination would take us along such a narrow path.

My brother and I aimed for Charlie’s Bunion, one of the more attractive spots in the Great Smokey Mountain National Park—so named because it looks like a bunion. But in this case, the bunion perches on the side of a steep mountain. Reaching it requires driving to Newfound Gap—the halfway point between Cherokee, North Carolina, and Gatlinburg, Tennessee—and accessing the Appalachian Trail.

The trail leaving the parking lot at Newfound Gap is wide and pleasant, but conditions rapidly change. Prior to reaching Charlie’s Bunion, the trail narrows to a one-way path. Meeting other people requires stepping to the side so they can pass—but the side closest to the mountain. Stepping to the opposite side will send one down a steep mountainside that would likely end in death. Scaling Charlie’s Bunion is no safer. We did it anyway. One slip and I would have fallen from the same mountain.

Hiking in the mountains has carried me along wide and narrow paths. The psalmist said God made a wide path for his travels, and the wide path kept him from slipping. Jesus said something more disturbing about a wide path. Those who travel it see their lives destroyed. The psalmist had another wide path in mind. His led to eternal life and joyful living.

I’d rather ramble along the wide path. And that’s the one I’ve chosen. The path is wide because God prepared it for me. He guides my steps and prepares my future. Walking the wide path keeps me in His will.

Walking the wide path of God’s will requires that I obey His commands and serve others with love. But I don’t do it grudgingly. God loved me in the past, loves me in the present, and will adore me for eternity. Knowing this, I can’t help but demonstrate my appreciation.

Traveling the wide path doesn’t mean I won’t ever slip. I’ve fallen on narrow and wide paths. Trials and temptations will try my faith. Sometimes, I’ll give in, get bitter, grow discouraged, or fight depression. But this won’t be the norms. God is faithful to pick me up, restore my soul, and brighten my outlook on life.

Let God guide you down the wide path where you can experience His love and care—and where you can experience life at its best.

Prayer: Father, take us along the wide path where we can see Your plan for our life materialize. 

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