I was recently hiking a trail in a park when the trail split. Two signs marked the diverging paths; one read “Hike,” and “Bike” marked the other trail. Because I wasn’t riding a bike I took the trail with the “Hike” sign.
The trail marked with the “Bike” sign seemed to be an easier trail with fewer branches hanging low across the path under which I would have had to duck and fewer roots protruding up from the ground over which I would have had to step. My preference was to hike the bike path, but that would only have frustrated any bikers.
Why is it that we often look longingly at a different path other than the one we’re on? I’m not just talking about hiking, but about life in general. Sometimes we’ve chosen a path and wish later we had taken a different path. Sometimes the path we’re on has been chosen for us by others who have made poor choices that impact our lives. Sometimes circumstances beyond anyone’s control put us on our current path.
Whatever the reason, there are times we wish to be on a different path or envy others who are on a different path from us. There’s the chronic health issue path that some must navigate. The occupation path finds many who wish they were on a different path, the unemployed wishing they could just get on the path to being employed! Marital status paths vary; happily married, unhappily married, divorced, widowed, or single and not everyone likes the marital path they’re currently walking. Some are trying to navigate the path of mental health issues. Many are hiking along with hurting relationships. I could continue listing possible paths, but suffice it to say there are many.
In the terrain of a specific circumstance we can be on only one path at a time; I never heard of a cowboy getting on his horse and heading off in all four directions! Sometimes it may be the Lord’s will for us to change paths, and we’re to work toward that end. But sometimes His will is for us to be on the path we’re on, at least for the time being, and to find peace on this path.
It’s often easy to imagine how a different path would be better, though we’ve only gotten a glimpse of that other path and likely have idealized it. It’s also easy to fixate on the rough aspects of the path we’re on and overlook the beautiful scenery along the way. I know, I’ve done my share of wishing I were on a different path in one area of my life or another. The reality is that, for now, we’re on the path we’re on, and God has a plan! It’s best if we determine to follow His will for us on that path. It’s also good to know that He’s willing to help us in astounding ways along the path. He may not take us off a difficult path, but He is with us on it!
“You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” Psalm 16:11