What does the path your life is on feel like? Has it been a scary, fearful flight through a dark and looming forest? Has it been a leisurely walk through the woods, picking flowers, yet wandering aimlessly? Has it been so focused on a goal that you’re exhausted and sweaty? What season are you in? Winter? Summer? Spring? Fall? Have you found the path that leads to the clearing where you can suddenly see? What was your journey like before you met Him?
How did you find the narrow path that lead to Him?
Did someone invite you to join them? Did you see activity and show up, surprised by what you found? Did you notice the sparkle of the specks of gold?
As I pondered the process of life, I slowly sketched a painting. Living life in a sin burdened earth may seem a lot like life in the woods: you don’t always see the bigger picture because it is obscured. It may not be easy to stay on the trail. Some days, you’re just following a path that has been trampled over time with no clue where it leads. Finding the path that leads to eternal life is discovered by divine revelation. There will be unique markers that invite you to walk away from the well trodden path and follow the trail that glows. It may mean you have to follow it by yourself. It may mean you notice a friend a little ahead of you so you go with them. But ultimately you have to choose to take that path.
I wanted to capture that the glowing path leads straight to a fire prepared for you. Jesus meets you with the bread of life and living water that you will need to complete the journey. He provides the boat. He tells you where you are headed and describes how amazing it will be. He sets your course. He tells you up front it will sometimes be stormy and sometimes calm. He will be with you no matter what. It’s not really far—it’s just over there. You are working towards getting home. You are casting your net as a fisher of men. You will see people struggling and offer to let them hop in the boat with you. On the journey home, you will teach them how to help save the other people who they see drowning. You will also show them how to navigate the waters. You will disciple them. You will always have access to ask Jesus for help and to clear up if you’re going in the right direction. Sometimes it gets hazy or dark and He will help if you veer off course. If you go too far, he will let your boat hit rocks. If you find yourself bogged down in leaks and realize you're spending all your energy bailing out water, think back on His instructions. Which did you disobey? If you will just say you’re sorry and ask, he will patch the boat right up so you can get going. There will be time to rest, time to work, time to wrestle with hard things and plenty of time to talk and laugh. Relationships will make or break your journey. I don’t’ even know if you CAN do it alone. The more people you have in your boat, the better. Then you can all help each other. There always seems to be room for more. The boat never gets too full.
There are some good guidelines on the boat for how to get along with each other, what not to do so you don’t struggle unnecessarily. There are instructions on the right way to do things and if you listen and learn from them, the sailing will be much smoother. There are areas to avoid and places you have to just push through.
You don’t want to ever loose sight of the sparkle of where you’re headed. You absolutely HAVE to make sure you stay hydrated with living water. Some people try to drink out of the ocean and it will cause your vision get cloudy or muddy. If you do, you start to hallucinate and can easily get distracted by things that aren’t real. Too often, people get turned around and accidentally head back towards where they came from, in confusion thinking it’s the goal. You could waste a lot of time if you go backwards and it will be nothing but disappointing. Jesus will help you start again as many times as you need to if you stay in the boat, but it will be so much better to just do it right the first time.
It’s not that far really. It’s just over there! The more of you who are looking for it, the faster your boat will get there! All the way home. Don’t stop until you see streets of gold! They will be familiar because you saw specks of it in the path that lead you to the beach!
**The title of this piece was inspired by the poem, ‘All the Way Home’ by Jill Briscoe.
All The Way Home
Jesus said, “Take up your cross and follow Me!” Matthew 16:24
One day in India after a traumatic and wrenching ministry visit,
Jesus asked me a hard question.
It happened like this:
Shaken, drained, discouraged, sickly
Tired and troubled and depressed,
Glad the time of serving over,
Now I’ll go home and rest.
Hot and humid was the weather
Sad and needy was the crowd,
Feeling I had done my duty,
Earned the time of rest allowed.
Soon I could return to family
"Yes," tomorrow I’d be gone,
Sitting in the last hot meeting,
I tuned in to what went on.
Listened to my husband preaching,
My, it was a great last talk,
All about the call of Jesus,
All about our life’s “faith walk.”
Stuart opened up the Scriptures
Talked of Jesus’ pain and loss,
How He who was our great sin bearer,
Bore our guilt upon His cross.
What a great word for the students!
Hoped “they’d” listened, yield their hearts,
They were young, their lives before them,
Now their turn to do their part.
Time for prayers of dedication,
I was tired, so late at night,
Shut my eyes and wished it over,
When a picture sprang to sight!
Saw a cross alone, discarded
Lain at rest against a wall,
Who’d lain down such holy symbol?
Who’d abandoned life’s “faith call”?
Then a voice so dear – familiar,
Asked a question – pierced me through,
Who is it that you’re expecting
Carrying it home for you?
How could I lay down that crossbeam?
How to think that no one saw?
Who did I expect to lift it,
Carry it to heaven’s door?
"Jesus, Jesus, please forgive me,
Carried Thou your cross for me,
All the way to hell to save us,
Help me carry mine for Thee!"
"I’m no hero – special woman
Just a lady, old and gray,
But my cross, Lord, I will carry,
Home, Lord, home, Lord – ALL THE WAY!"
Spoke His voice so quiet – but clearly then:
"All the way home, Jill; all the way, all the way home!"
Jill Briscoe © 2012
The art that inspired this pondering is entitled "All the Way Home" and is available at www.artistictherapy.net