Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Path Less Traveled (God and the Boundary Waters)

There has been a tradition in my family that started in the late 80's.  It's a tradition that I was able to join in on in 1995, and have been involved with ever since.  Every year that our schedules align, we make our way up to the Boundary Waters the first week of August.  We spend five days canoeing in what most of us consider the most beautiful country on earth.

While I was working this past week, a song came on the radio by For King & Country called "Fix My Eyes."  It's a song that I have heard many times, but this time a phrase jumped out at me.  Here's a portion of the lyrics:
"I learned the lines and talked the talk (everybody knows that, everybody knows that)
But the road less traveled is hard to walk (everybody knows that, everybody knows)
It takes a soldier
Who knows his orders
To walk the walk I'm supposed to walk"
The part that really jumped out at me was "the road less traveled is hard to walk."  On our canoeing adventures over the years, portages (the carrying of a boat or its cargo between two navigable waters) have been a way of life.  You get used to them.  Some are hundreds of feet, and others are over a mile long.  We have taken two kinds of routes through the years.  We've taken routes that are easy where you see a LOT of people, and there tend to be few portages that are well traveled. And we've taken routes that are harder where you see very few people, and the portages are rocky, hard to navigate, and can be downright miserable.  Any idea which route I like to take? Although those routes that are less traveled can be much harder, the beauty you find in nature, and the peacefulness around you is far greater than taking the more popular routes.  I would much rather carry a canoe up a steep rocky path, be bruised and bloodied, and be able to enjoy the peace without other groups around me, than travel a flat well traveled path, and have to dodge groups throughout the entire trip. 
 The song reminded me of this.  Although there are paths that seem easy and wide, what you find on those paths will pale in comparison to what you will find on those hard and rocky paths.  If you live in America, the easy path is something that we are told we have to strive for.  Who doesn't want to live on easy street, right?  But what needs to be realized is that our relationship with our Savior is what should always be placed first in our lives.  Living the American dream shouldn't even be near the top of our priority list.  The hard part is actually choosing that rocky path.  It takes a lot of faith to choose a path that could potentially bring a lot of pain and hardship over a path that will be easily traveled. 
I am reminded of two passages today:
Matt. 7:13-14
“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. “For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it."

Matt. 11:28-30
“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS“For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

I used to question myself all of the time.  The path before me seemed so daunting, and I would find myself exhausted just thinking about it.  But I was doing the opposite of what Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us, 
"Trust in the LORD with all your heart
            And do not lean on your own understanding.

      In all your ways acknowledge Him,
            And He will make your paths straight."
It is one thing to read, and yet another to put into action.  When I started practicing all of these passages in my life, I found myself on that rocky path that sometimes left me bloodied and bruised.  But I couldn't be happier in knowing that it's not by my strength or power that I know that I will see God throughout the rockier portage path of life, but by the One who provides me with that strength because I've chosen to take the path less traveled.