...Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himmself, and take up his cross, and follow me.--Mark 8:34
“Hey, look at that.”
“It’s another path. That’s strange . . .”
“Should we take it?”
“I don’t know. We’re already on this one, why go a different way?”
My friend and I stopped and looked at each other. We weren’t sure whether we should continue walking, or go down this other path that we just came across. I was about to say we should continue walking on the path we’ve been walking on all our lives. Afterall, we’re already familiar with it. Then I glanced over at the path again, and noticed a Man standing in front of us. He wasn’t there a moment ago.
My friend asked me who the Man was, but I didn’t have an answer for him. We both just stood there staring at Him, not moving. There was something about Him that was . . . different.
Suddenly He spoke, “One path leads to Life, the other to death. You have to choose now which path you will walk on.”
My friend and I looked at each other. His voice seemed just as different as He was. His Words were spoken plainly, but they carried a weight of authority with it. I asked Him, “Do we have to choose now?”
He spoke again, “Yes, you’re not promised another opportunity to choose later on, and you cannot turn around to go back, to choose later on. I set before you Life and Death, blessing and cursing. Choose life, so that you both may live.”
“Which way is Life?” I asked him. “How can we know the way?”
“I am the Way. I am the Truth. I am the Life. No man comes to the Father, but by Me.” At those words which the Man spoke to us, He revealed Himself.
Suddenly, with just those words, my friend and I both fell to the ground. We were overcome with a sense of Love. We both realized just who it was we have been looking at all this time. This was God Himself, clothed in rags like we were. He wasn’t just showing us another path, but He was actually the Way itself, to life.
I realized then and there, that all this time I was lost. I thought I knew where I was going, that the path I was walking on was familiar, but I didn’t. I didn’t know where I was going. This Man, the Lord, in such amazing love, came to show me the Way, and to provide it for me and my friend. While still on the ground, overwhelmed with the Love that poured from Him with those Words, I spoke to Him in tears, “Lord, I’m sorry. I’m so sorry for the way I’ve been living. Please forgive me. I love You, Lord. I want to choose life, will You guide me?”
Reaching His hand down to us, He lifted both myself and my friend from the ground. Drying our tears, He said to us, “Follow Me.” He then turned and started down the path that appeared to us just moments before.
Looking at my friend, he nodded to me and we both followed after Him down this new path. The path was much different from the one we were walking on before. The one we were leaving behind us, was smooth for the most part. It was very wide and anyone walking on it had a lot of room to play, run, zig-zag around. There was no straying from that path, it gave anyone freedom to walk a million different ways, and still get to the same destination. A person could look ahead and, though it was a little foggy you could still see a little ahead of yourself. Now, though, I realize that even though I could see a little bit ahead of where I was going, I was still lost on that path. Everyone on that path is lost, no matter how far ahead they feel they can see. There seemed to be no border to that path either, no way to fall off. Though clearly there was some way to leave it, as we now were walking on a path which separated itself from the wide one.
This new path was much narrower than the other one. The width was only about the width from my one shoulder to the other shoulder. On either side of the path, there seemed to be only dirt and rocks, everywhere. There were some rocks that had strayed onto the path too. After just a few minutes of walking on this new path, I realized that these rocks caused my friend and I to fall every now and then. We would trip over the big rocks that were in our way. The little rocks would get under our feet and make us slip. Each time I slipped on the little rocks, I noticed I seemed to slip backward. I realized the path the Lord was leading us on, must’ve been going up, but I didn’t really notice the climb. The slipping backward was the only way I could tell. I had a smile on my face though, I felt so happy to have the Lord Himself guiding us, and showing us the Way to Life. I looked behind me at my friend and asked him what he thought was before us on the path. He told me he didn’t have a clue.
I looked in front of me at the Lord who was guiding us. The way this path was so narrow, I couldn’t see around Him to what was in front of us in the path. Because He was much taller than I was, I couldn’t really look over Him either. So I then tried to lean a little to the left side, to get a glance around Him. The moment I did however, I stepped ever so slightly off the path and stumbled. I then decided to try to look around the other side. As I leaned to my right, I once again stepped off the narrow path. As I started to fall, my friend grabbed hold of my arm and kept me from falling completely down and cutting myself on those rocks. I thanked him for helping me there, and we both agreed that we have to be careful not to step off this new path! He then told me to ask our Lord where He was leading us.
“Lord, I was just wondering if you could tell me where we’re going.” I said to Him.
He turned His head and looked at both of us. With a smile on His face He simply told us, “Life. To reign in glory and sovereign worship of the Father.”
I then smiled and said to Him, “Well, yes, we already know that, but what is right in front of us on the path? Neither one of us can see, and I can’t look around you because I keep falling off the path.”
Still smiling and looking over His shoulder at us both, He told us, “Take no thought for tomorrow, tomorrow will worry about itself. Today has enough troubles of its own, don’t you think?”
Laughing at the realization that He definitely was right, I told Him, “Yeah, it does. I just wish I could see where I was going, even just a little bit. It’d be useful so that I could see when some rocks are coming.”
“Follow me, walk in My footsteps, and you won’t slip.”
Smiling I looked down at the path and realized that the Lord definitely was leaving footsteps behind. They were an example of how and where we were to put our own feet, so that we didn’t slip or stumble off the path. I looked at my friend behind me as he realized the same thing. I was overcome with joy at the thought of all that the Lord was doing for us! He not only showed Himself to us, set us apart from the path of death, and was guiding us on the path to life, but He even left footprints for us to know where to put our feet so we wouldn’t stumble on the rocks! Laughing for joy, I said, “Oh thank You so much, Lord, for everything You’ve done for us!” Still laughing and smiling with joy, I set my feet to walk in those footsteps the Lord left for us.
I kept my eyes on the ground, watching where I placed my feet, and making sure I put them where I was supposed to. It was actually working! For a while at least. I found that I kept missing the marks. My own feet, as hard as I tried, just kept missing many of the footsteps. Every so often I would get it right, but it was getting frustrating to keep messing up and tripping! Then I hit a big rock and fell flat on my face.
In tears of frustration and anger I cried out to the Lord, “I can’t do it! Why isn’t this working? I’m trying, Lord, but I just can’t get my feet to walk right!”
Still laying on the ground, I felt the Lord put His arms under my shoulder and lifted me up again. He healed my scraped knee, and told me, “I know you can’t. Your feet are just not Mine. But if you keep your eyes on Me, instead of on the ground, and your own feet, then you will be able to do it. Don’t look at the rocks around you and try to avoid them, look at Me. Don’t look at your own feet to try to place them in My footsteps, look at me. If you keep looking at me, I promise you, that your feet will move with Mine, and you will not stumble on these rocks, or stumble off the path.”
With tears still in my eyes, I thanked the Lord for helping me, and showing me what to do. We then continued walking on the path. This time though, I kept my eyes on Him. I kept looking at Him and only Him. Amazingly I found that I didn’t stumble at all! I felt like running and jumping for joy because of what the Lord had shown me, and how all I had to do was to keep my eyes on Him!
I turned and glanced behind me at my friend to see that he too was keeping his eyes on the Lord. I saw his huge smile identical to my own . . . right before I fell flat on my face again. In frustration I hit the ground with my fists and in anger I picked up the rock and threw it out of my path. I started yelling at the rocks for getting in my way. Breathing hard I jumped back up and yelled out in anger!
The Lord turned and looked at me over His shoulder again. “Why did you take your eyes off me?” He then looked back around and continued on.
I followed Him again, still a bit upset that I fell for the millionth time, and couldn’t seem to get it right. But I looked at the Lord again, deciding to keep my eyes on Him. After I did that and after I started walking surely again, I felt a little better. I again was filled with joy at what the Lord was doing for me, and the Love He was showing me! Then, curiosity got hold of me and I decided that I wanted to see how my feet were fitting to the footsteps of the Lord. I looked down and saw how nicely they seemed to hit the mark dead on. But then, my right foot moved just a fraction of an inch to the left, and I slipped on a small stone. As I slipped a few inches backward, my Lord must’ve seen what happened.
“Keep your eyes on me. Not on your own feet, even though they hit the mark. Listen to me, now. Listen to the Words that I’m speaking to you.”
I turned my eyes to Him, and He started to talk with me. He told me of so many wonderful things, and answered many questions I had. I listened, and as I listened, even though my eyes stayed on Him, and my ears focused on His Words, I was becoming aware of everything around me, without having to take my eyes off Him, or my ears from listening to Him. I noticed that the path seemed to leave the ground . . . the ground that was on either side of the path started to slowly fall away, and the path was raised as a narrow cliff rising higher and higher. I also noticed that my feet weren’t just walking around the rocks as they would follow the Lord’s Feet, but many times my feet actually pushed and kicked the rocks out of my way, and off the path! I was overwhelmed with a sense of thankfulness and awe, in all that the Lord was allowing me to see and understand.
I kept listening to His Words, and kept my eyes on Him, making sure I didn’t take my focus off of Him. However, as the path continued, and as I continued walking, I started to get a bit tired. At first I could handle it, I just was so happy at all that the Lord was doing for me! Yet the weariness wasn’t going away, nor was it staying at a tolerable level. It grew more and more and I found myself slowing down while the Lord kept His pace. I became a bit worried, but decided to carry on. Pretty soon my feet seemed to weigh a ton each, my breathing became gasps, and my arms even hung heavily at my side. I also became irritated at how long this path seemed to be taking for me to reach the end of my Hope.
I cried out, sweating, “Lord, how much longer is it? I don’t know how much more of this I can handle! My legs hurt and my feet are heavy. My arms weigh a ton and I feel like I can barely lift them to do anything more, and I’ll be honest, it’s getting a bit hard to keep following You after all these miles, kicking rocks, walking around them, and—even though Your Words are wonderful—listening to Your Words. It’s all making me tired, having to do this each day, day after day, year after year of walking! This path doesn’t seem to end!”
My Lord kept walking, but looked over His shoulder and said to me, “Keep your eyes on things above. Remember My Promises. If I told you something, I will do it.”
“But I’m tired, Lord! I don’t know how much longer I can endure all these things around me!”
“Be not weary in well doing. My grace is sufficient for you, in your weaknesses, My strength shines through more perfectly. Take My hand.” and the Lord reached His hand out to me.
I lifted my heavy hand and grabbed hold of His hand. The moment my hand was in His, I was overwhelmed. I felt so much love, grace, and truth. I was renewed with strength that was obviously not my own. I quickened my step, and kept walking with renewed energy. I noticed that I then not only had the strength to go on, keeping my eyes on Him, my ears focused on His voice, and my hand in His hand, but I was aware of my muscles growing. My legs became stronger and much more capable of shoving the rocks, even the big ones, out of my way and off the path. My arms were stronger too, I was able to do anything through the Lord who was indeed strengthening me. My whole body was becoming stronger, and oh how glorious it was to have such a wonderful, close fellowship with my Lord!
I kept walking, day after day, year after year, and I kept growing stronger, able to carry on without growing tired, for as long as I held on to His Hand, and kept my eyes on Him, and kept my ears open to everything He was telling me. I became aware also that the ground on either side of the path, was no longer visible. All there was, was the path. I dared not let go of my Lord, there would be no other way. I surely would not just stumble, but perish. The sky was as the night, dark blue but lit with the beauty of the stars.
Before I realized it, my Lord stopped and a warming light started to reach and shine all about. As I kept my eyes on Him, I realized that the light, was His Glory! He was the Light, and He gave the Warmth that surrounded us just as the Light. I fell to my knees as He turned around to face both myself and my friend who traveled the narrow path with me. I was in awe of His Splendor, and could not speak a word.
Then I heard His voice, ringing loud and clear for all to hear. “Well Done, good and faithful servants.” He spread His arms wide, and turned to the side to show us beauty of His Kingdom, “Enter into the joy of your Lord. This, is the Hope you have waited so long for. Again I say to you, My Friend, Well Done. Your faithfulness has wrought much.”By Christopher Michael Midgett,
GIVEN by God