By Noelle Morin
The Christian life is often compared to walking a path. There are places in the Bible that refer to the “path” as the way a person follows God’s guidance and plan for their life. I identified loosely with this comparison until a recent trip to Israel. There I saw real shepherds with real flocks of sheep and goats on those paths. And there in the desert hills were the paths, looking nothing like I had imagined when I thought about those biblical references or the path of my own life. These paths were the ones the authors of the Bible walked on as they prayed and God talked to them. They were the very paths the shepherds were walking the night the angels came and proclaimed the birth of Christ. The paths that lined the hills in Israel, the very ones I was walking along, were the paths of life for those people. Just as our path with Jesus is our path of life.
“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Ps. 16:11 ESV).
The ancient paths have witnessed many lives. Those changed by an encounter with Christ are all walking the path, shepherded by Jesus. The nature of those paths is worth examining because our lives as Christians are similar.
The paths are narrow; I could not walk with the friend I was traveling with. We had to walk single file. I could still hear her voice, and we talked as we walked, encouraging each other in the heat and dust. As I went along, I reflected on how my walk with Christ and maturing into our relationship has had to be done on my own. Just me and Jesus much of the time, working through his Word in my heart. My friends and husband can encourage me along the way, and certainly see me, but they cannot walk beside me.
The dirt was less rocky and softer underfoot in the center of the path. One side curved up to follow the mountain’s shape, giving way to more rocky and loose gravel. This reminded me of Scriptures that caution us about turning from the path of life. The worn part in the center reminded me that others had traveled this path before me, even though as I walked it seemed to be mine alone.
If you trust Jesus with your life and follow him, your story will become the one that teaches others to trust Jesus. When you model a life of obedience, your family and friends will notice, and generations will be changed.
“And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it’ when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left” (Isa. 30:21 NIV).
Though the desert hills are not very high, they are steep, and it is not possible for a person to just sprint from the bottom to the summit. The winding paths are the only way to the top. Like our pursuit of closeness with Jesus, we must take the longer, slower route. We learn as we live that there is a constant need to turn from sin and toward the love of Jesus. Our daily trials, our pressing in, our submission and returning to Christ are what move us closer to him, closer to the mountain top.
The paths are certain; they are obvious and well-traveled. I am reminded that though I feel alone at times, as if I am the first to experience them, I am not. I walk my path beneath the watchful eye of a mighty God. His guidance gets me around the mountainside to the summit. His voice leads me through the winding places, his grace allows me to continue when I doubt or stumble. With each day traveled, with each step forward in obedience, I can sense his presence more fully. Traveling the path isn’t something I do under my own power, just like walking that dusty path in Israel; I needed my guide, my group walking in front and behind me; and I needed the presence of God.
“My presence will go with you and I will give you rest” (Ex. 33:14 ESV).
This life is full of noise telling us where to walk, who we are, what to believe, where our identity should come from. There can be no question, though, for a daughter of the King. Our path is set before us; our Savior lives; our eyes are made to be fixed on the Lover of our souls. Lift your heads, sisters, and step onto the narrow path laid out in love. Be fearless as you move forward in obedience.
Noelle Morin is a bossy, slightly introverted, coffee-addicted, redheaded aspiring writer. Having met Jesus at 31 years old, she is a second chance pro, late bloomer, do-over daughter of God, and she is ever thankful He loved her first. Noelle has been married for 13 years to her husband, whom she met on a blind date. They live in Texas, where she mothers their four boys and works full time as an occupational therapist.