What such men have lived–the patience, the endurance, the toil–the fights with men an’ all that makes the desert–the wanderin’s an’ perils an’ tortures–the horrible loneliness that must be fought hardest, by mind as well as action–all these struggles are beyond ordinary comprehension an’ belief. But I know. I’ve met a few such men, an’ if it’s possible for the divinity of God to walk abroad on earth in the shape of mankind, it was invested in them. The reason must be that in the development by the desert, in case of these few men who did not retrograde, the spiritual kept pace with the physical. It means these men never forgot, never reverted to mere unthinking instinct, never let the hard, fierce, brutal action of survival on the desert kill their souls. Spirit was stronger than body.”
Everyone starts out on life’s journey, and hopefully somewhere along the trail parents, friends, maybe even a stranger, will help the person look for the signs that lead to the “narrow trail.” The person may be guided to it, or they may be told to look for it, however, each person must find Christ on their own and then follow that narrow trail.
Everyone, sooner or later, and usually sooner will find that this trail leads into the wilderness. It did for Paul, it did for Jesus, and why should we then be exempt? Upon entering the wilderness the novice may shudder and decline and thus lose out with Christ. Upon continuing the journey and growth is taking place they will soon find that there are thorns and weeds ready to choke them out if allowed. The wilderness was the place that the devil chose to attack Jesus. He wants to take God’s children and “warp and twist poor helpless human beings into shapeless deformity of soul and body [similar to] the piece of rough, rocky country, broken by barren hills and dismal canyons.” However, knowing, using, and acting upon God’s Word, the traveler can overcome.
The wilderness may have high mountains covered with snow and lush valleys and meadows that seem to be contrary to the harshness. But it may also be laden with canyons and gorges, washouts and rockslides, poisonous springs, sinkholes, and akali bogs. When traveling the trail that God has laid out there may be other trails that criss-cross the one you are traveling. Upon closer inspection it becomes clear that there are many tracks on those other trails and the thought may come to mind that you are upon the wrong trail, and the temptation may be to leave the “narrow trail.”
Common sense prevails and you stay on the chosen trail for your life. It is hard and it might soon come to a canyon that must somehow be crossed. There seems to be the slight notion of a trail in front, so you continue to follow it down to the bottom of the canyon, but somewhere, you slip on the rocks, and a slight avalanche begins. You try not to fall down, but ride with the traveling rocks and gravel until finally you reach the bottom. Now to find the trail that will take you up the other side of the canyon. The basin is rocky and any trail is hard to see. You begin to climb, but again you fall and here comes the rocks. There is a “tree” and you grab it and hold on as the rocks rush by you.
As the slide passes, you are in a weakened state, and dare not rise to your feet, so you slowly being to crawl up the trail, fearing another possible slide. After some time, you reach the top, exhausted, sweating and you look behind and marvel at the feat you have accomplished. In front of you are slight hills, which you welcome and begin to move forward. There is a respite, courage again returns, for you have crossed one canyon in your life. But stay alert! Don’t neglect your surroundings! Check your bearings to see if you are indeed moving in the right direction.