How Clear the Trail?
Sometimes the path is clear. Sometimes it is not.
I was in North Carolina recently and had some time to go out for a run. The area where I was staying was congested, so I checked the map for green space. I found a park with a 3 mile trail for walking, hiking, or running. Off I went.
As I entered the woods, it became apparent that this would be a bit challenging. The trail was barely visible in many places. In addition to minimal marking on the trail, the trail was narrow and spacing between trees in the forest was wide. To make matters worse, leaves had fallen leaving the trail and non-trail looking much alike. The trail under the decomposing foliage was composed of packed ground with roots and rocks that had been exposed through erosion. This made running a challenge and tripping less of a challenge.
About three quarters through the trail run it opened up into a wide path; easily seen and easily navigated. This allowed me to increase speed and run with less care.
A Few Lessons about Life
A few lessons in life stirred in my mind as I navigated my way through the course.
Eyes Up. Eyes Down
In order to navigate and find the trail ahead, my eyes had to be up. In order to avoid tripping on a root or twisting an ankle on a rock, my eyes had to be down.
So it is with life. Keep your eyes lifted up - looking into the path ahead - making good decisions about direction and the future - keeping your eyes on the prize. Keep looking down - be aware of the present, the moment that you are in - make the best of it - stay aware - make good decisions about today.
Watch for the Signs
Though few in number, there were signposts on the trail.
The LORD has given us markers along the way. There are signs in our lives; things that point the way. The Word teaches us the way to go and also to consider the fruit of our actions. We can often tell if we are on the right path when our lives match the Word - when we are bearing the fruit of the Spirit - when we have the markers of Love.
Death Muddies the Path
It would have been easier to navigate the path had the leaves not covered the ground.
I thought about the Old Testament; the Law. How it was a path of sorts. But I thought of how sin and death and the traditions of men obscured that path. It made it difficult for men to travel and made stumbling nearly inevitable.
But as the trail changed in a moment, so did the path of men. Jesus came and opened a “new and living way”. He made a highway for the believer.
Isaiah 35:8 A highway shall be there, and a road, And it shall be called the Highway of Holiness. The unclean shall not pass over it, But it shall be for others. Whoever walks the road, although a fool, Shall not go astray.