(I’m not a writer and I tend to ramble, ramble. I just reread this post, and I have not the first idea on how to tie all this together. But, here goes...)
Sometimes I don’t know where I’ve been, sometimes I don’t know where I am, and sometimes I don’t know where I’m going. I may have fallen from a cliff. I may have tripped and landed in briars. I may have slipped in some mud. I may have not paid attention. I may have wondered from the path.
What is this path I’m walking? It can be rutted and beautiful and uneven and steady and rocky and smooth and bumpy and bright and shaky and rugged and hard and rough and fragile and tough. It doesn’t matter what I face on my path, I’m following and walking with Jesus.
It is difficult. But, I chose to follow the narrow path when I asked Jesus into my life. And, Jesus never, ever leaves my side. He promised.
Just read these three verses:
have faith in the straight path
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV
follow the brilliant path
the pathof the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.
Proverbs 4:18 NIV
pursue the secure path
Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm.
Happiness is caused by things that happen around me, and circumstances will mar it; but joy flows right on through trouble; joy flows on through the dark; joy flows in the night as well as in the day; joy flows all through persecution and opposition. It is an unceasing fountain bubbling up in the heart; a secret spring the world can't see and doesn't know anything about. The Lord gives his people perpetual joy when they walk in obedience to him.
Earlier this week, I heard that a guy I went to school with had died. I hadn’t thought about him in years and years, and probably haven’t seen him since high school graduation (31 years ago). My initial reaction was “I’m sorry he died, but...” ‘But?’
‘But.’ was followed by “particularly in the middle school years, he made my life utterly miserable.” That guy picked on me relentlessly, saying things he knew would cause the most pain. He never gave up. It was embarrassing. It was hurtful. It was cruel. It was excruciating. It was hateful. It was brutal. It was downright horrific. All these years later, the memories are still there.
I don’t know if I ever forgave him. True, all this time, I haven’t thought about him. But, have I ever forgiven him? I’d hidden these memories far, far away, yet now I remember them quite well. But, have I ever forgiven him? I’m an adult now, and things like that don’t bother me. But, have I ever forgiven him?
The Bible is very clear about forgiveness. I have a lot of prayer and soul searching to do...
bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. Luke 6:28
But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, Matthew 5:44
And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins." Mark 11:25-26
We serve Jesus by following in His footsteps on the path He has already laid out for us and has prepared for us. The path of our Lord is our path of life. The path of Christ is the path of the cross.
Sometimes I veer far away from the path. Sometimes I feel lost, I lose my way, I lose my direction, I take a wrong turn, I lose my focus, I wander off. Sometimes I stumble, and I trip, and I fall. The path is narrow, and there are rocks and roots and bumps. The path has sharp turns and curves and valleys and mountains.
If only I could/would always keep my eyes on Jesus, and follow in His footsteps.
God shows me the path to take. He guides me, He teaches me, He directs me....
But, I have to do my part...study the Word of God, pray to God, grow in God, praise God, live for God....
And, stay on the path with Jesus...
You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. Psalm 16:11 NIV
He restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Psalm 23:3 NIV
Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths; Psalm 25:4 NIV
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path Psalm 119:105 NIV
I came across this topic, and was reminded that joy, holy joy, is not to be hidden away. It doesn’t matter if my circumstances are discouraging or difficult or daunting or demanding or disappointing or desperate or devastating. Joy remains in my heart – Jesus joy. There are times I can’t find that joy, but I know that joy is still there.
There was a children’s song that went – “I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart. Where? Down in my heart. Where?” etc – and ended with “down in my heart to stay!”
First of all, Jesus suffered on this earth. Job went thru unspeakable circumstances, and he still had Jesus joy. When Paul was in prison, he knew that having joy didn’t depend on his circumstances. Moses, Noah, Jacob, Timothy, Adam and Eve – the Bible tells of numerous men who suffered. Actually, all mankind suffers. Christians suffer. We were told that we would suffer. But we need to remember that we still have joy – Jesus joy.
He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. Job 8:21 NIV
Even in laughter the heart may ache, and joy may end in grief. Proverbs 14:13 NIV
Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. Psalms 126:5 NIV
He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him. Psalm 126:6 NIV