Monday, November 3, 2014

Trail's End

I spent a few minutes recently reflecting on dusty trails. My first thoughts were that much of the best in this world is found along the rarely-traveled backroads. The places where crowds accumulate may be lit up by neon, but the flittering shadows of big trees in the daytime and the sky ablaze at night are far superior to anything shining with artificial light. Those dusty trails have brought me some of my most revered memories.

On the other hand, I have been to the end of some trails where the lack of light became the playground for other kinds of darkness. It was Jesus who said, "God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil.” (John 3:19 New Living Translation) I shudder to think how many hearts have been broken and how many eternities destroyed in those shadowy places.

The truth is, it’s not the dustiness of the trail that makes the difference, but where the trail ends. The trails of the human heart are many and we have a choice to follow them to beauty or to disaster. The physical darkness can be our hiding place as we indulge some secret tryst or it can be the place where we revel in the greater light we miss in the daytime. Either way, the trails of our lives are either toward God or away from Him.

We don’t stand still.

It’s a complete misconception that we reach some spot on life’s road where we permanently stop…and camp…until we die. One day, Jesus was on a mountain (Mark’s Gospel, Chapter 9) with His three closest friends, Peter, James and John. Suddenly the whole place lit up and they were joined by two long-dead men, Moses and Elijah. Peter, who always seemed the most impetuous of Jesus’ followers, wanted to build some tents and stay there. They couldn’t stay, because life’s trail doesn’t end just because we’re “in a really good place right now.”

The trail doesn’t end until it ends. And where it ends depends on the trail we have chosen. I can’t say that I fully understand this, but I have been on a few bad side trails in my day and count it a rare privilege that I was shown the way back to the right road.

Jesus said that His trail…that is, the trail of forgiveness and redemption which He paid our admission price to travel, always starts out hard. It’s never the way of the crowds. It’s always the way of the cross. We will talk about His trail this weekend at Stone Ridge Church. It would be our great privilege if you could join us there. Can’t make it? You can listen to our podcast regardless of the trail you’re on.

No comments: