The Narrow Path

Rev. Kristie Selvidge   -  
Look closely at this image. There are two hikers on this tiny path high in the mountains. They are so high that the clouds are settling over the top of the mountain. The path is seemingly treacherous at times and the view ahead is blocked from sight. This picture conjures up memories of hiking with friends a few years back in Colorado. As we drove up the side of the mountain to our starting point I began to doubt if I would be able to climb it. It was new to me and I was not a seasoned mountain climber. We started our hike on a nice and wide cement path but the closer we got to the top, the trail narrowed and even disappeared at times. The weather conditions changed every few hundred feet making it necessary to add layers and change our gear in order to reach the top. Along the way, there were times when the view was spectacular and times where it terrified me. There were moments where I lost my footing and almost fell but thankfully I had the equipment I needed to continue on. As we neared the top, I found myself in tears more than once ready to give up and turn back. I would like to say that when we reached the top that it was the most wonderful and magnificent thing I had ever seen but like the clouds in the picture above, the top of our mountain was covered in clouds and actually the snow/sleet was blowing sideways making it hard to even see at some moments. While the view was not amazing, the feeling in me was amazing. I had pushed myself to heights (literally and figuratively) that I had never imagined before. I had overcome some fears along the path and I had climbed a part of the Rocky Mountains. I was exhausted, but I was exhilarated and it felt good.
There have been times in life when I have wondered if I am cut out for different things. I have asked questions like am I cut out; for school, for a job, for marriage, for being a mom, for being a pastor’s wife, for being a pastor? There have been days in each of these roles when I want to throw in the towel, days where the enemy has had a hay day with my thoughts speaking lies instead of life.
I think the question of if we can do something is a natural part of who we are. The issue is when we let the question stop us from even trying. There is a song that has been on repeat for me for a few weeks. I cannot tell you how many times I have listened to it. The very first line in the song hit me this morning prompting this writing. The song is Available by Elevation Worship. It says, “Narrow as the road may seem, I’ll follow where your spirit leads. Broken as my life may be, I will give you everything!”
I committed a long time ago to follow Christ and as the years have gone on, I have learned more about what that means. To sum it up, it means it is not always easy, but it IS always worth it. The road that Christ has called me to walk scares me some days. It seems treacherous at times and there are turns and bends the I cannot see around meaning I don’t know what’s up ahead. There are days where the road has spectacular views with glimpses of God’s glory that encourage me to keep going. There are days where I can run and there are days when I seemingly have to crawl and let Christ carry me through.
In hiking you need a good pair of boots or shoes to carry you through the hike. On certain parts of the trail you might need poles to steady your walk and offer stability. You might need different layers of clothing to keep you warm as you go higher. A rain jacket is always good because you don’t know what each set of clouds might bring. You’ll also need water and snacks to keep you nourished. The most interesting piece of equipment for our hike in Colorado that day that I had never used before was a set of hiking spikes that we rented to slide onto our shoes as we got to the higher, snow-covered elevations. Those spikes, were essential to our hike that day!
The path that God has called me walk to requires essentials too. I cannot navigate this path without the Navigator. I need God’s voice in my life to guide me on this path. I hear his voice in Scripture, in prayer, and in worship. I need accountability of trusted friends to check on me from time to time just like I need a hiking buddy to encourage me when I get worn out. I need people who walk a similar path either beside me or ahead of me to learn from glean wisdom from their experiences. On the days when the enemy starts to speak lies into my head about the path I am on, I have to put my spiritual “spikes” on and dig them into his lies to break them up underneath my feet and leave them on the trail behind me.
The path can seemingly threaten to kill us some days and it can invigorate us on others. Sometimes we feel alone on the path, sometimes we watch others fall off. Sometimes the path takes us on a side trail that life throws at us. This might be sickness, injury, and emotional battle, or the death of someone we love. Those detours or side trails may seem even more treacherous, but the good thing about that is our Navigator will lead us through and guide us if we will allow Him.
The song said, “Broken as my life may be, I will give you everything!” There has been plenty of brokenness in my life and yet it is still my desire to give my brokenness to Christ and ask Him to make something of it. My greatest desire is to be available to all that God wants me to do.
So friend, if you find yourself on a path and not sure if you can carry on, surrender to Christ and make sure you are on the right path. If you’re on the right path and you feel like you’re on an uphill climb that seems never-ending and impossible, remember…you’re not alone. Christ is all around you as you go and He desires to be within you if you will allow Him the space to do so! The road may be bumpy, it may have steep drop offs, and it may seem dark and dreary but your Navigator is guiding you.  Matthew 7:13-14 says, “You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.
While you are on the path, look for the small “flowers” on the side of the trail, for glimpses of “green” in the Spring. These might be words of encouragement, a song on the radio, a hug from a friend or a loved one…they are flowers from the Navigator. When the view is spectacular, stop long enough to take it in. Those views will stay with you when the road ahead curves and bends and threatens to knock you down.
Linger in the presence of the Lord today. Be available to what He wants to do in you and where He wants to lead you.
The road that leads to life is narrow and not always easy, but the road will be eternally worth it.