Fork in the Road

In late September, Ramona and I learned of a travel route of Marinette County waterfalls that was suggested for the fall color season. We promptly ordered the map and headed north on consecutive weekends. The views were incredible, and the pictures made for great social media posts. But on our first trip up north, there was a sign on the trail to 18 Foot Falls that was unintentionally (I think) entertaining.

We were guessing that the “extreme” route was a shortcut. But given that it started with a straight-up climb on jagged rocks, we decided to go the moderate route. It turned out that the extreme route wasn’t much shorter at all, so we were quite satisfied with our choice. But I’ve been thinking about it ever since. We are often confronted with “moderate” and “extreme” forks in the road in our faith walk and the choices are rarely as slam dunk as the one we faced on that trail.

Sometimes God wants us to take a step out in faith and take the extreme (or difficult) route and we opt for the moderate (or easy) route. Other times God has an intended path, and we choose one that we think is better and we either miss out on the blessings He had in store for us or worse: we get into real trouble. So, how are we to know which is really the moderate or extreme path in our lives? And even if we do figure that out, how do we know which one God wants us to take? Well, He has an app for that:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6

So, what does this look like in practice? Well, when we got to the next fork in the road where the two paths converge, we saw a man who took the extreme route. He was carrying very expensive looking professional photography equipment: a digital SLR camera, a very high-end telephoto lens and a tripod. It’s likely he expected a much shorter short-cut for his efforts. That’s usually what we’re after when a short cut is our idea and not God’s idea. When the uneven, hard road is God’s idea he will bless us for taking it.

But neither Ramona and I nor the photographer could tell which was the best choice from our vantage point. In fact, we can never tell from our earthly vantage point what the best path is for our lives. But God always makes the right choice from His perfect vantage point. All we must do is follow the signs He provides. A wonderful woman once told me that “you’ll never miss a message from God if you’re listening for Him.” And we won’t miss signs if we in all our ways submit to Him. And when we do, we can rest assured that the path is straight regardless of what it looks like to us.

This post is republished with permission from Oakbrook Church, De Pere

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