After forcing myself to keep on climbing and not give up, I finally found the trail. The established trail, the one created to help you successfully climb the mountain rather than die of exposure from prolonged wheezing.
However, I must admit, it was just as I’d feared. Rather than getting me to the top quickly, the path tended to meander. Snaking across the open ski slopes before disappearing into shady groves of trees, the well-worn trail didn’t gain altitude quite as fast as the one I’d blazed. But then, I suppose, if a person added the amount of time it took to swallow your lungs and still your heart, well then, the trails were probably comparable in actual speed.
But unlike the path I’d try to create on my own, to my great surprise, I actually enjoyed this new one. The views were magnificent, and while the slope was challenging now and then, whoever had designed the trail had obviously considered the variety of people who would use it. The young and the old. The fit and not-so-fit and everyone in between. It took longer. But suddenly the destination wasn’t my goal. I was free to enjoy the journey.
Aren’t you glad we serve a Gentle Shepherd? A Shepherd who not only knows each one of us by name, He also knows our frame. He knows we’re but dust. Old dust and young dust, fit and not-so-fit dust. And rather than forcing us to climb at an incline beyond our ability, He goes before us making a level path for our feet. A trail, which, while challenging at times, never sets us up to fail. But only to succeed.
I love the Japanese version of Psalm 23 I include in Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World:
The Lord is my pace setter…. I shall not rush
He makes me stop for quiet intervals
He provides me with images of stillness which restore my serenity
He leads me in the way of efficiency through calmness of mind and his guidance is peace
Even though I have a great many things to accomplish each day, I will not fret, for his presence is here
His timelessness, his all importance will keep me in balance
He prepares refreshment and renewal in the midst of my activity by anointing my mind with his oils of tranquility
My cup of joyous energy overflows
Truly harmony and effectiveness shall be the fruits of my hours for I shall walk in the Pace of my Lord and dwell in his house for ever.
At one point in my climb, I was faced with a decision: to continue on the path I’d found or take a wider road that the trail had just crossed. The road seemed faster, but then I’d learned my lesson about shortcuts…I’d stick to the path that had been made for me.
Are you fighting the path God has set before you today? Do you keep longing for a faster route to your goal or a short cut through your pain? Take it from me, there’s a way that seems right to a man…I’ve tried it. But it only leads to death (or in my case, near cardiac arrest.)
Perhaps you’ve forgotten, you have a Shepherd you can trust. A Trail Blazer that’s already gone before you, a wise and knowing Guide that has carefully created a trail for your life. It might not be the fast track, but I can guarantee you it’s the right track. And it will get you where you need to go.
And though the destination might not be the one you had in mind in the beginning, believe me, it will satisfy your soul for it will more than meet your goal.