I was driving home and stopped at a red light. Looking around, I saw a man walking across the street parallel from where I was waiting for the light to change. He was using a white cane. He walked with confidence and grace. He did not hesitate. He did not stop. But what surprised me the most is that as he continued walking, he nonchalantly and without missing a step threw a piece of wadded up paper into a garbage can to his right. Even though he was blind, he had perfect aim and the garbage landed squarely in its target.
My first thought was that he’s walked here before. In fact, he knows this path well.
It made me think about my own path in life. How well do I know where I’m going? I easily can look back on my life and know where I’ve been. I see all the little bunny trails I’ve taken over the years. Trails that led me off the main path. Some were dead ends. Some were false starts and quick stops. Some were hard learning experiences that when they ended, put me squarely back on the path the Lord intended for me all along.
There were times when I felt like I was walking alone. I know now that isn’t true. I’ve never walked alone. Just as a child takes those first steps alone, but a parent is close by ready to catch him if he falls, the Lord has always been with me like a loving parent.
Even during a time long ago when I wasn’t walking with the Lord, he was walking with me. Encouraging me to come back home. Leading me with others he put in my path. Sending reminders that he still loved me.
I have journeyed through some wildernesses. I know what it’s like to simply put one foot in front of another, hoping that life will somehow change. It’s easy to get disoriented and weary, discouraged and disillusioned. It’s easy to believe that mirages are real and truth is changeable. That leads to creating my own path, which is never a good idea even though we are taught that the American Way is to pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps. How do you actually do that? Won’t you tip over if you pull on your bootstraps? What if you never wear boots?
No, it’s better to ask the Lord to pull us up out of the mess we’ve created by trusting in ourselves.
Do I easily discern the garbage in my own life and discard it without a second thought? My filter used to be pretty weak. It was weak because it was a filter I made. How did that work for me? Not so well. I’ve made a lot of mistakes. I still do, but when I‘m lost, I’ve found that the Word is the roadmap that points me in the right direction.
Do I walk with this path of life with confidence and without hesitation? Sometimes. Not always. More so than I used to. But it’s only because the confidence I have is not in myself. My confidence is in the Lord, who created heaven and earth and everything around it and in it. He’s the one I trust. He’s the one I lean on. He’s the one I acknowledge. He’s the one who gives me straight paths.
Peter said it so well in John chapter six. Jesus is teaching about who he is and who sent him. Many of his followers don’t believe and turn back. Jesus looks at the 12 disciples and asks them if they’re going to leave, too. Peter says in verse 68, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”
There is only one way to heaven and his name is Jesus. Jesus himself said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).
How well do I know where I’m going? I’ve discovered in my life that I don’t need to know where I’m going every step of the way as long as I know who is accompanying me on the journey. Jesus. Without him, I’m blind and stumbling in the darkness. With him, I truly see. At the end of my life I see myself in Heaven.
Is that something you see, too? If it isn’t, ask the Lord to give you the words of eternal life now.