A couple of weeks ago I was on my way to our monthly jeweler training, one of the few times that I am ever in the car alone, enjoying the drive when this happened.
I was admiring a new bike trail that our city has put in. There have been several efforts in the last few years to make our area more biker friendly, and I for one am quite pleased with this. This newest path extends along side a sort of narrow and slightly curvy and hilly road. Before the bike path the road was surly less biker friendly and maybe even dangerous at some points. It will be well used also, because it connects with a State Highway at one end. To add to the appeal the path turns at the other end and heads into one our city's most loved and well known parks. Why yes, that is one nice bike path. I have been watching it's progress. The path is wide and well paved. I like the several points of entry and exit along the way where it crosses the driveways of many homes. In fact, when I borrow the bike that Alex is going to lend me, I may have to go take a ride on that paSCREEEEEEEECH!!!!!!!!!!! (Like the sound of a record player being abruptly stopped.) What?! ......What is that in front of me?.... What does that guy think he's doing?! Why, the nerve of him!
Yes, you guessed it: My happy fuzzy dreams of enjoyment on the bike path were interrupted by.... A MAN ON A BICYCLE. :/ He wasn't enjoying the path. He was on the road in front of me. I was behind him for the entire remainder of the road. He made no efforts to more or even get over so that I might pass.(And I know that he saw me in his fancy mirror!) He peddled as quickly as he could to get up the road's most prominant hill. All the while I am sitting behind my steering wheel looking back and forth between him and the empty bike path thinking, ".....really?!?".
Now, this blog could go in the obvious direction of PATIENCE, but it won't. (You can all thank me for that later since we all know that reading anything insightful about patience usually means that you will be going through a trial with it.) Instead I'm going in this direction:
The Paths We Choose. In the scenario that I'm presenting I want us to be the biker instead of the frustrated driver in the car behind the biker. We are "The Stubborn Biker". God paves the way for us. He uses His Spirit and His Word, and encouragement and healthy examples through the lives of others. He does not send us out there blindly. Don't get me wrong, I'm not under the impression that God's path is always sunshine lollipops and rainbows, (ok. That song is in my head now too, so here's the link:) http://www.youtube.co/watch?v=j09r7Km7JdE
God never promised that our paths would be that. In fact, quite the opposite. We will be persecuted because of Him and our love for Him at times. Someone will stumble on this very blog someday and think that I'm a nut job just because I have faith in a God that I can't see in His own living flesh. Regardless.... I choose this path. Possible persecution won't scare me away from my Father's plan.
So, what does God say about our paths then? Well, this subject is mentioned so many times in God's Word that I'm not even going to count them. Before I continue, I will list a few examples though.~
The angel of the LORD asked him, "Why have you beaten your donkey these three times? I have come here to oppose you because your path is a reckless one before me."
(also Psalm 18:36)
You broaden the path beneath me, so that my ankles do not turn.
"Because of your great compassion you did not abandon them in the desert. By day the pillar of cloud did not cease to guide them on their path, nor the pillar of fire by night to shine on the way they were to take.
I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path.
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path. (Notice that He only lights enough to get us from day to day on our path rather than lighting the whole thing. If He did that we wouldn't need faith. What kind of character would we have then?
Listen, my son, and be wise, and keep your heart on the right path.
And this last one is my favorite <3 :
in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.
There are a lot more, but you get the point.
Today, I want you to know why that that bike rider drove me crazy. It wasn't because he was more fit, it wasn't because he was going to make me late to my meeting, and it wasn't because the sun blinded me reflecting off of the fancy mirror that I mentioned before. It was because he was missing the point! In fact, I think it's safe to say that he was missing out, all together. This isn't me being judgmental either. Remember, in this scenario we are the bike rider. Keep following me here. How many times do we peddle our hearts out and end up completely exhausted trying to keep up with "traffic" when there is a perfectly serene and well paved path that we could have taken instead? How many times do we ignore the several chances that we are given to reenter the right path? And how many times in this life do we continue to fight to prove that we can make it on that wrong path? It seems to me that we too often fight for the wrong path and find that it isn't something that we needed or even wanted when all is said and done. Just think about that nice bike path that we could have been riding on instead. It promises to meet all of our needs. I hope this has gotten you thinking a little. But I'm not done! I have one more very important point to make.
If you have read this blog and you might agree that what I'm saying is true, but you, well.... don't really care, then this is for you: There was one more factor greatly affected by the bike rider's poor decision. That factor was me. Not to mention every other car behind me. When we blatantly choose our own path over God's not only are we thumbing our noses in insult to Him, but we are also hurting those around us. It's selfish of us. We grossly underestimate the effect that we have on others. Think about Random Acts of Kindness. Think about The idea of "Overflow"ing to our families, our community and our world, (which is our church's theme this year.) Think about the young people that are looking up to you whether you like it or not. God wants to use us to bless others. He could just do everything for Himself, but then we would never understand a thing and would end up terribly spoiled. And, if we do it right, He does get the glory. In that same way of thinking though, when we don't make efforts to live lives that are pleasing to Him, we hinder others. We don't overflow to them and at some point, everything dries up. I remember many years ago I was living a life that I knew could have been more Godly. It wasn't until I realized that my actions could influence others in a bad way that I cared enough to make some changes in my life. I am claiming in NO WAY to be perfect, better than. I'm simply making efforts on a daily basis to take God's path for me and am trusting that the God who created the Universe may know what He's doing in my tiny little life.
Taking the "Bike Path" is also a treat. They aren't available on many roads around here. Just imagine how much more peace and rest that our rider's journey would have had if he would have taken part in the oasis while it was there to enjoy. I'm thankful that God's path always is.
*Oh, and here's a bonus for you: Always wear your "Helmet of Salvation". ;)
(I can just hear my husband's groan when he reads that.)