There are times in life where the path divides. One goes to the left and is wide. Friends can walk together side by side, laughing and holding hands, telling jokes and dancing. They are together. The other, to the right, is obscured with overhanging bushes and thorns and the path is barely wide enough for one person to place foot in front of the other, much less allow two people to skip along side by side. It is a lonely path.
The left beckons to us, promising false security in riches and popularity and darkness. The right doesn’t look pleasant at all, but we know that it’s the right one to choose…because we know what lies at the end of each of the paths.
So we gather our hiking stick and step off to the right, leaving behind a multitude waiting in line for the left path. They call out to us, warning us, laughing at us, pointing at us. They don’t understand why we’d choose such a narrow, seemingly lonely path.
We step onto the path and as we continue, their laughs fade. But as we trek further away we begin to understand why they didn’t understand—in fact, we begin to doubt our choice.
Prayer meetings on Tuesday mornings consist of ourselves and God. Nobody else shows up. We always encourage but are never encouraged. We comfort but are not comforted. We listen but are not listened to. We show hospitality but are never cared for. We invite but are never invited. We remember others but are forgotten.
And thus it is sometimes easier to languish on the forest floor, with our feet hanging off the edge of the path and our backs pressed against the hard-packed earthen wall.
Though we have the Creator of the universe on our side, there is still a very human pang buried somewhere in our hearts that comes out once in a while when we fall and nobody is around to lift us up.
We carry this burden around within us, sealing it up beneath a façade of happiness and peace and hope—which we might very well have, as we should, being Whose we are—but we hide this hurting part of us lest somebody see and only cause the pain to spread. We find it easier to not let on than to express, but every day our heart is breaking from the heaviness upon it due to lack of iron to sharpen against (Proverbs 27:17).
Sometimes we need somebody to tell us who we are—not to read it or see it or hear it in a sermon, but for somebody to tell us individually how unique, dearly loved, chosen, accepted, and seen we are. It’s one thing to tell others this Truth, but it’s another (just as necessary) to be told.
This time of hurt is not in vain, dear one. There are lonely path days when we walk hand in hand with God. There are not so lonely path days when we walk hand in hand with God. A beautiful part about being a disciple of Jesus Christ is that we are never alone. We have a Friend, a Father, a Helper, a Redeemer, a Savior.
But there are still those lonely path days when the going is dark. Do not lose heart, chosen child of God. He has a plan far greater than we shall ever be able to understand (at least on this Earth). These walks of loneliness are sharpening us in lieu of having other iron to sharpen against. They are preparing us to see the lonely. They are preparing us to love fiercely with God’s Love. They are preparing us to be steadfast and loyal and to never give up. They are preparing us to be better, purer, set-apart vessels to carry the Gospel to the deepest, darkest, dankest places of this world because we have a flame that has not let up its flickering, but has grown into a blaze as we’ve tended it along the path, hand in hand with God.
Being a disciple is difficult, but it is rewarding.
And then…there are voices ahead on the path. We’ve come across fellow disciples running the race! We link hands and help each other along the path, lifting each other, praying, encouraging, comforting, listening, speaking life and truth and joy into each other’s lives as we trek. We have found fellowship. We have found iron.
So press on. The times spent seeking God on a lonely path do not go unnoticed by your Creator. He is preparing you. He is strengthening you in your weakness. Continue being faithful. Continue encouraging and listening and comforting and loving. Continue reaching out.
You are loved. You are seen. You are chosen. You are made for a purpose that goes beyond your wildest imagination. You are created for a mission. You are accepted. You are rejoiced over. You are the apple of His eye. You are a son. You are a daughter. You are a child of God. You are made righteous. You are beautiful. You are fearfully and wonderfully made.
You are so very beloved by Yahweh.