She was nervous and excited and nauseous and scared. She was being called to a bold new frontier. Not one she knew. Not one she ever dreamed of. But the pull was powerful.
She started down the path. The new path. The different fork. The road less traveled. And all that other stuff. It was obvious from the start it was less traveled. What with all the potholes and sinkholes and pitfalls and quicksand and overgrown brush crowding the pathway. No signs. No indication of where it led. Yet the pull propelled her onward. Almost always forward. Sometimes the twisted ankle or the gashed arm or other journey injuries and set backs made her question the choice. She sat down. She even turned around a time or two. But she always returned to forward movement down the path.
She felt alone at times but, remarkably, did encounter other travelers just as loneliness began to seep in. Often at the oddest of hours. Late in the evening, as she rested from the exhaustion of the trip, she would find fellow journeymen. They would visit. Even walk together in silence during periods. They were different from her and yet the same. She somehow felt as though she’d known them all her life once she encountered them. They also chose the less popular path. The harder route. The pull had drawn them to the same place.
Yet their journey was not hers. The road turned and forked again and then the travelers would always part, friendly, as she returned to the pull of her own destiny. She found notes along the path. Notes from previous travelers and even from the One who designed path.
Scratched out on one shred of paper were this traveler’s encouragement, “I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
Affirmations from seasoned travelers confirmed to her that she didn’t have to understand the road or route:
For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength. Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.
I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.
During a particularly harrowing portion of her journey, she uncovered these well worn words near a cliff, “But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one. We have confidence in the Lord that you are doing and will continue to do the things we [He] command. May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance.”
From the path Architect, she would find encouragement in the darkest hours and would press on:
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone. You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. Such confidence we have through Christ before God. Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God.
And so, she kept walking. Hearing the words of the last note she discovered resounding in her head as she fought to move forward, Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Then. Oh, then. She reached the end of the beaten narrow road. The conclusion of her long journey. She could not believe what was revealed before her. She came upon the clearing. Gasp. Tears welled in her eyes, her breath caught and the hair stood straight up on her arms. More. Than. She. Could. Have. Asked. Or. Imagined.