I asked my husband if he thought I could get by with writing yet another column about our recent tornado experience. He looked over at me with weary eyes and deadpanned, “Yeah, I’d say this tornado was definitely worth at least three columns.”
I agree. For the past month, our lives have revolved around fixing things the May 3 storm messed up. And you know that if I live it and learn from it, I’m probably going to write about it, so here I go.
I love that the previous owner of our property had horse trails cut through the woods. While we don’t have horses, we do have legs and I sure enjoy walking on those paths. Or at least I did until the tornado obliterated one and made a mess of the others.
My favorite path winds through a stand of big hardwood trees I dubbed “Sherwood Forest.” Sadly, as the twister hopscotched across our property, one of the places it touched down was smack dab in the middle of that forest, toppling dozens of big hardwoods, snapping others in two and leaving some standing branchless with their bark completely peeled off like bananas.
My husband, Joe, has awesome chainsaw skills, but it’s probably going to take more than his trusty Husqvarna to clear the tangled mess in Sherwood Forest. If you ever played Pick-Up Sticks when you were a kid, you get the picture. Now imagine that each Pick-Up Stick is 40 feet tall.
It appears that for the foreseeable future, my favorite path will remain impassable.
What should we do when our chosen path is blocked? Should we abandon our goal, try to power through the obstacle, or look for another way?
Seems like that’s a question we all have to grapple with from time to time as we walk through our lives. We have our dreams and make our plans, but sometimes what looks like the best path forward is simply blocked.
We don’t plan to face obstacles like infertility, divorce, unwanted singleness, unemployment, financial problems, health challenges, wayward children or natural disasters, yet many of us find at least one of these obstructing our path at some point. What do we do then?
If you don’t believe in the God of the Bible, I guess you cling to some positive-thinking platitudes or rely on your own pluck to get you through.
But if you profess to be a follower of Jesus Christ, obstacles can provide a rubber-meets-the-road opportunity to apply the wisdom of Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”
It’s true that God’s way may not initially look very “straight” to us, but faith is all about choosing to believe what we can’t see and trusting that God’s path is the best because He alone can see the entire route, from start to finish.
Saul, later known as the Apostle Paul, was intent on destroying Christianity and Christians until he encountered the resurrected Jesus, who said to him, “‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads’” (Acts 26:14).
Know what a goad is? It’s a spiky stick used to prick oxen or cattle if they veer off track. Paul clearly got the point (yes, that’s a pun): to bullheadedly choose our way over God’s is to invite pain. As the apostle discovered, God always has a better path for us if we’ll humble ourselves and seek His wisdom for every next step we take.
Even if a storm wrecks our favorite trail, it can’t wreck God’s.
“You will make known to me the path of life.” – Psalm 16:11