The road before me stretched out as far as my eyes could see. It was like standing on the shore of a vast ocean, unable to see the land on the other side. Even from a boat, miles out at sea, the far distant shore remains well beyond sight. Eventually, even the beginning of my journey became obscured after miles and miles of wandering.
I felt a sting with each step, as the scorching pavement burned into my psyche the reality that I feared the most: I’d forgotten where I was going. I do, however, remember why I’d started walking in the first place.
I had already spent time wandering the many streets and establishments in the vast city called Sin. There were avenues that I’d only journeyed down once, though the allure of such places was great. There were neighborhoods where I spent a great deal of my precious time, unable to pull myself away. And there were some places that I never dared to go, places where the sun never shined. But I was a resident of this city.
The day that I met him was unremarkable in almost every way. The sun strained to get its light through heavy layers of dark, billowy clouds, and an eerie fog hung in the air making each step a leap of faith. His voice was quiet and peaceful like the smooth and steady sound of a mountain stream, but His words were weighty like the mountain itself.
He spoke my name and it was like I took my first breath. Life giving. He called out to me. It was like the soft voice of my mother calling me away from a bad dream, and like a life preserver thrown to me before I went under for the last time. I stepped into the fog, led by His voice. With each step the fog parted a little more. The clouds parted like eyelids, opening to reveal the Son.
That was the first time I heard those life-changing words, “Follow me.” And follow I did.
For 33 years now I’ve followed Him. I’ve learned a great many things.
I’ve learned that I must never forget the city called Sin which once was my home. I remember, not longing, but grateful that I don’t have to live there any longer.
He’s taught me that I must always keep my eyes on Him so that distractions don’t pull me off course. “Woe to the world for temptations to sin! For it is necessary that temptations will come, but woe to the one by whom the temptations comes” (Matthew 18:7 ESV)!
I’ve come to understand that when the road forks I should take the road less traveled, for “the way is easy that leads to destruction… and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few” (Matthew 7:13-14 ESV).
I’ve learned that I should never walk alone. “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 ESV)!
And I have learned that the destination is important, but not as important as doing His work all along the way. Like the Good Samaritan, we must live our lives with compassion, for Jesus had compassion on us when we didn’t deserve it. “Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” Jesus asked. “He said, ‘The one who showed him mercy.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘You go, and do likewise'” (Luke 10:36-37 ESV).
Remembering my beginnings has helped me to remember my destination. Remembering my destination has helped me remember purpose.
You go, and do likewise….