Your way, or God’s way?

IMG_5480.JPGRedirection. This can be a frightening term that intimidates many people. It sounds like you will have to take ten steps back, for your five previous steps forward, putting you five steps behind where you started. That is not something anyone wants to do. However, redirecting is not necessarily a bad thing, per se, but it does mean backtracking.

When I went rollerblading the other day, I was going strong and going far. The only thing about my journey, was the route I was taking, was not going to get me to my end goal of the lighthouse, like I wanted.

Here’s what happened. I was rollerblading and the path was so brutally rough, unleveled, and just plain miserable to trail down. This made my ride so it was not enjoyable at all, to the point, that I was contemplating giving up on the whole trip altogether. But there was a part of me, that wanted to have that accomplishment of making it to Barnegat Light, despite the rigid terrain, I had to travel to get there.

So, all I did, was, take some back roads that had fewer bumps and uneven roads. I was POSITIVE these back streets would get me to the same place by means of a different passage.  The new route I traveled, was much smoother, and it gave my already sore feet, a break from the jagged concrete. I was making strides towards my end goal of the lighthouse, or, at least, so I thought.

Then, I fell. I was not badly injured, although the rocky pavement had left its mark on me in multiple places. At that point, I was not sure if it was even worth it to keep going, or if I should put my tail between my legs, and call my mom to pick me up… several towns away.

I found myself torn between what I should do. Should I attempt to pick up any remaining pride I had left, and journey on, or should I give up, find a way home, and forget my hope to make it to the end of the island.

While I was debating this in my head, I remained on the ground pondering where to go, and how to access the shuttle, if that was the route I was going to take. As I sat there, a woman had come across the street asking me if I was okay, to which I responded yes, but she was not convinced since I had made no effort up until that point, to get up. I got up, then and assured her I was fine. My quandary still hung in the air, though. To turn back or to press on, that was the question.

I decided then, to keep going, with more determination than I had before I fell. However, what I realized was that I was going the wrong way and that I would have not found the way to the lighthouse if I tried to get there by relying on my own internal map to guide me. I would have ended up getting more lost than I was already. Then, I would really have had to call my mom or find my way to the nearest shuttle, which I had no idea how to do, or where I had to go to find one. Although I am a local to the island, I have never had to take the shuttle anywhere, but I digress.

Back to the map, I was drawing about redirection. Had I not fallen, I would have not known how I was off the right path, to begin with. It took bringing me slight pain to understand how, by taking my way, I was really going down a dead end.

Because of the minor injuries I had gained on my adventure, I then, told my smartphone to get me directions, actual directions, not my “directions” to the lighthouse, because I wanted to make my pain worth the achievement of reaching the lighthouse.

I had wasted so much time because I thought I knew the way, that when I finally dusted myself off, the sun had already begun to set. My own path had taken me so out of the way that I was aiming to go, that I lost the daylight that I started my trek out during.

Once I was back on the right trail, I was able to find the lighthouse within a few minutes. I was still a long way off, but I was much closer than I had been previously. 

But nothing else on the ride there would prevent me from reaching my goal anymore. I was steadfast on arriving at the lighthouse. The final miles seemed endless, but now that I was on the right path, I no longer cared how long it took. My GPS said it was about forty minutes, but I do not know how accurate that was when I factored in the elements, such as the wind, and the bumpy road, I faced.

When I eventually got to Barnegat Light, my day had been made complete. I was able to proudly say that I made it, not in my strength, but in the Lord’s mercy and persevering through his grace. He is the only reason I made it. The sun had not set yet, and that gave me ample time to get myself situated, take some photographs of the lighthouse, and find the perfect spot to rest, as I basked in the beauty of the clouds surrounding the well-built sanctuary of the sea.IMG_5477.JPG

Suddenly all the self-inflicted pain of going the wrong way vanished, and I was given such a sacred moment with the Lord, as he revealed his magnificence and grandeur to me, through the view he placed before me. I had no soreness in that instant, it was just me and the Creator. All the other people at the lighthouse disappeared along with my suffering because it was such an awe-inspiring encounter with the Maker, that nothing else mattered.

Have you ever felt like this, like you had something bad happen in your life that made you want to give up, but the little voice inside of you, pushed you not to give up?

Have you had that moment where you had to make a conscious decision, to push back against your circumstance?

That time, where you may have even known you were going down the wrong path, but went down it, nonetheless?

Redirecting — it only means that God knows what he wants for you, better than you know, yourself.

The reward is great when we follow him and trust him to lead us, but, so are the storms that he allows us to face when we try to find an alternative route. Many know this as the path of least resistance. What we tend to forget, however, is that Christ did not take the path of least resistance, but instead, took the path that would save the most souls from eternal suffering. We are required to go down that path as well so God’s guidance and hand on us, can be the only way we possibly make it through.

Like the reward of watching one of the most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen, the reward in heaven, that awaits us, as saints, is indescribable, and well worth the hard trail we have to trek down, in order to get there someday.

Next time you want to try going your way, not God’s way, remember that there is only one way to heaven and that is through Jesus Christ, who is the only way.

John 16:33 “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world, you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

John 14:6 “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me”

Psalm 46:1-3 “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.”

Exodus 15:2 “The Lord is my strength and my song; he has given me victory. This is my God, and I will praise him—  my father’s God, and I will exalt him!”

Job 11:13-16 “Yet if you devote your heart to him and stretch out your hands to him, if you put away the sin that is in your hand and allow no evil to dwell in your tent, then, free of fault, you will lift up your face; you will stand firm and without fear. You will surely forget your trouble, recalling it only as waters gone by.

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