A man can never do the same piece of trail over again. But he can always turn into the one he ought to be on.”
–Ernest Haycox (The Wild Bunch)
“Go in by the narrow gate. For the wide gate has a broad road which leads to disaster and there are many people going that way. The narrow gate and the hard road lead out into life and only a few are finding it.”
“I’ve lost it, I’ve lost it,” I hear the cry of someone scurrying around, maybe on his hands and knees looking for the place where he can get back on the trail that he was riding. It was a good trail, comfortable, with relatively few obstacles along the way. It was a trail free from hostiles and few predators moved along its borders. Oh, where, oh where is it?
Perhaps the cry is more like this, “I sure miss that path I was on, this one is so rocky and so steep.” The way was once in the green meadow with soft grass to walk upon, now the trail has turned rugged and rough. It strained the body, mind, and soul.
The issue is that the person became a Christian. He found the trail found the narrow gate and is walking the Lord’s pathway now. It is a hard road, but it leads to life and to the eternal city. Gone is the easy way. Oh, not that life was necessarily easy, but on the old road his enemy wasn’t Satan and the world. Now he seems to be attacked one way or another around every bend in the road. Often he finds himself in a “heap of trouble.” There are all kinds of obstacles from fallen trees, to rocks, to quicksand. There are swamps along the way and rugged mountains to traverse over.
The howl of a wolf may cry, answered in the distance by its mate. He may be stalked. There might be the growl of the puma, or the roar of the bear. He begins to wonder why in the world didn’t he stay on the easy path. But this is the one that he is supposed to be on. This is the one where he can lay down at night in spiritual peace. Rest for his soul, there should be no anguish or anxiety.
Often he has questioned if he should try and go back or cross over to the easy trail. He can see from one of the boulders he is sitting on the people across the gorge laughing and seeming to have to good time, a happy time. Once in a while one will see him and wave at him, beckoning him to come over. All he has found is struggle, but at the end of each day there is comfort. He will lay himself down to sleep and remember that he is not alone, that he has a Guide, a Comforter to be with him as he travels.
He is assured by his Guide, that one day it will be worth it all. One day he will be in the full presence of the Lord and each blister, each scrap, each scar will be worth the travail. One day he will fully realize that the stalking of the wolf has ceased and he made it, he was not pulled down and devoured. One day he will rest from the fighting he has found himself in against the hostile forces of the devil. One day…but not yet, not now.
Stay on the straight and narrow. Don’t seek to go back, for the Lord has warned if he seeks to go back he is not fit for the kingdom of heaven. Weather through the storms–hunker down if needed. Use your rod and staff to fight off the wolves, lions, and bears. Fight the good fight, be alert, be strong, be brave. Endure hardships that you will be “perfect and complete lacking nothing.” (James 1:4)