“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood and sorry I could not travel both and be one traveler. Long I stood and looked down one as far as I could to where it bent in the undergrowth.”
I have loved that poem for years. I sang a beautiful setting of this piece as part of a choral group in my teen years. There is this inner longing to experience life without missing out on anything we would consider pleasurable or fulfilling. Yet this longing is tempered by the realization that one must choose a path when faced with a crossroads.
The crossroad came in the Garden of Eden as the serpent spoke to Eve: “You’ve been living here, Eve, but there’s much more for you to experience that God will not open to you.” The crossroad came for Abraham and Lot. Lot surveyed the plains of the Jordan, taking that which looked fertile and lush. David met a crossroads experience while sitting atop the roof. “Why not indulge myself?” asks David. “No one will be the wiser and I will have satisfied my…my what?” Boredom? Power? Curiosity?
Crossroads are inevitable and, more often than not, surface the real struggles and longings of our heart. It is at these crossroads that God asks us to believe that He is offering only that which will deliver satisfaction and fulfillment in Him. It is at the crossroads that we uncover whether we are looking at life through spirit eyes or through natural eyes. It is at the crossroads that we are able to choose the cross-life or to be crossed by life.
Choosing to follow God and the path He has laid out for us, even, and especially, when we cannot see our way, is to choose life. Rarely is the terrain or the gifts along the way what we expected. But the richness of the path of God is beyond comparison.
To be fully alive we need to embrace all that the Creator is and has for us. Anything else is a sure path to death and destruction. Joy, resource, peace, righteousness…these are the gifts we receive as we travel the road God lays out for us. Who hasn’t experienced the momentary ‘happiness’ of the lesser gifts only to be sorely disappointed in their ability to deliver for the long haul?
Jesus spoke of two roads: the road to life and the road to destruction. He never intended for us to be one traveler experiencing both. He longs for us to follow Him, to know Him, to be content in Him, to allow Him to lavish the gift of Himself on us.
At the crossroads of Self and The Christ-Life, upon which path will you embark?