In May last year, I went to visit my best friend in England. While we were there, we took the short drive to the Lake District in Keswick (pronounced KEZ-ick for all you Americans like me who’ve never heard of the silent W). Beautiful scenery. Wonderful food. Just incredible.
We walked along one of the well-traveled paths that wandered beside the lake, snapping photographs every time I turned around. There were sheep and flowers, and everything was so green.
We stayed on the path. It had been clearly marked and even though it was a dirt path, we could tell where people had walked before us. But down in the underbrush, splitting away from the main path were several other little trails. Mostly unbroken, definitely rugged, and mysterious, the other trails probably hadn’t seen many boots, and on one hand it was tempting to go down them. But on the other hand, getting off the main trail is rarely a good idea when you’re in a country you know little about.
I loved walking on that well-traveled path beside the lake. We saw beautiful things. But we came to the end of the path, and it circled around to send us back the way we came. So we saw the exact same things on the way back as we’d seen on the way there, and I couldn’t help but wonder if the unbroken path would have provided something different in both directions.
If I had taken a chance on walking that untraveled path, would I have experienced something better? Or was it better for me to be content with the path I was on?
Sometimes you have to make your choice when your circumstances aren’t perfect.
We all follow paths in our lives, and sometimes we have to choose between two good paths. And we all know the Bible verses about trusting God and relying on His direction rather than our own understanding, but how does that work practically?
When it comes to choosing what path you’re going to take, I really think the most important part of it is to choose. Just in general. We live in an indecisive society that fears commitment more than anything else.
According to Scripture, in Ecclesiastes 11:4-5, “Farmers who wait for perfect weather never plant. If they watch every cloud, they never harvest. Just as you cannot understand the path of the wind or the mystery of a tiny baby growing in its mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the activity of God, who does all things.”
You can’t always sit around and wait for the perfect circumstances to follow the path God has set out in front of you. Sometimes you have to make your choice when your circumstances aren’t perfect and trust that God will work your life out.
Just make sure that the heart behind your choice is devoted to following Jesus. Don’t make your choice out of fear. Don’t choose your path out of a heart seeking glory or attention or fame or wealth. Put God’s rules into practice. Make your choice based on what God says is right. Then, stay on that path.
Maybe God will lead you down a path that’s already been cleared, and that’s fine. But He might also lead you down an unbroken path. The risks will be higher. The danger may be greater. And you’ll have to trust Him for every single step instead of just every now and then. But the benefit is that you’ll see things that no one else has seen, and you’ll get to leave footprints for others to follow.