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The Forbidding Path of Faith

"Seems awful narrow and dark..." we say to ourselves as we see the entrance. “can’t see very far…”

Like this path in the Czech Adrspach Teplice Park with its trail through a slot canyon, the journey of faith has its twists and turns, unimaginable outside fantasy. One film company, incidentally, thought the same and used this very trailhead. 

So, what can this park trail tell us about faith?

"Can't see ahead... are you sure this is safe?" we think before venturing into the unknown through that forbidding gate. In the nature park, the tourist needs to look up for light in the first leg of the canyon with its overhanging rock walls pressing in. Wisely, the park management partially elevated the winding path with a wooden walkway so we wouldn't lose our way, or wade through puddles.  None too tiring, the path stays level if not straight, and each turn brings something new.  At long last, the breathtaking views open out in forested beauty and yet more towering rock formations.

“That hike is well worth the time and effort!” I would recommend it to one and all. My comment comes from hindsight. Having done the trail, I know its marvelous impressions. But, anxiety could have kept me in the parking lot, likewise distrust in the veracity of the images online or even bad weather. I would have missed out.

So too is the path of faith. 

The intrepid soul stepping onto the trail, following Christ as Lord, has to first believe His word to enter.  For some, this means dealing with flashing red lights of pertinent questions, and a few lame excuses, that can keep anyone out in the ‘parking lot’ in front. For others, as in the nature park example, pictures alone satisfy their curiosity, so why bother with the exertion of such a hike, or such a walk of faith? A few depend on hearsay and the 5-star ratings of religious influencers, before pulling out their hiking gear. All these give pretexts such as:

“Is faith going to make my life better?”

“Would faith in Jesus create more problems than it solves for me?”

“What would I have to give up to live a life of faith?

No blisters here. But when accepting the priceless life of faith in Christ, with God’s promises to walk alongside, and having realized the utter worthlessness of what we leave behind, we can step boldly through that gate, accepting the path as ours. Then, we see with new eyes how much we need to rely on faith.

Belief in Christ is not a stroll through a rose garden. That is the lie of the cults. Sure, the joy is real, the peace, the awareness of God’s love for us, all these reveal the strange transformation we undergo. For all the glory, believers are not exempt from the world and its problems… but these are faced differently-- from God’s perspective.  

When dull, overcast days drag on, we long for light. Walking through a narrow slot canyon, we might be unlucky enough to encounter thunder reverberating ever nearer but have no shelter. Cloudy uncertainty in faith can rumble from questions of teaching or trials.   There are winds of change, and indecision in careers or relationships comparable to standing at a crossroads, unable to make out the directions with the signpost spinning in the gusts. The inevitable anxiety of illness or loss of loved ones overwhelms us all; as a relentless deluge, it leaves us feeling drenched and alone on a cold, empty trail. All these need the light in the Lord’s guiding hand, and knowledge of that great love in His word to protect and warm us-- the best torch and waterproof garments around.  He is all that.

This path of faith challenges, and if that weren’t enough, our internal weather, the up-and-down swings in feelings, doubts, and trials, can dog our steps, for some more than others.  Not to mention the opposition to face.

What the Czech park fails to offer is a tourist guide. Believers in Christ, on the other hand, have a great Guide in the Holy Spirit, He accompanies us along that journey, at the crossroads, during the dark stormy mishaps of life experience. Without Him, even the fair weather of summer lacks warmth. 

We come to understand what nature teaches us-- how a tree with roots clinging to boulders reminds us of our struggles, how God provides in the harsh environment, and how the riches of knowing God come after the most harrowing moments on the journey. How can we not grow thankful, exulting as we walk with God on that journey? With experience, we wonder why we ever doubted in those darker moments. It becomes easier the next time shadows loom.

The elevated walkway displays the direction in the nature park.  We cannot falter if we stay on that path. In faith, we follow the highway of holiness.  This we learn from God’s guidebook for our lives, the Bible. The holiness implanted in us permits us to live as our Lord lived, again by faith. Why do we stay on that higher trail, seeking to emanate his holiness? To please the Lord of our lives, who by now, we more fully know and love.

This elevated path brings another great gain. We needn’t trample through the mud.

Outside faith, men travel many perilous roads. The swamps, ravines, and brambles they plow through are destructive. The wounds, guilt, and regrets resulting from their troubles believers bypass altogether on that high road. Neither do we tread on the other high-road inhabitants. The way of holiness has no push-and-shove mentality, or at least it shouldn’t.  Our vulnerability to weakness is a shared trait.  Sharing our provisions and our prayers becomes a lifeline, especially while facing periods of inclement weather. So grateful we can be for a clear, raised path!

A glorious view awaits all trekking that way. As it opens out, we experience the glory of God’s presence, the wonder of being in Him. We perceive the joy of others we have shared with, and the fulfillment found in service. Then, as we finish our journey, as death’s door comes into view, we move forward in peace, as Jesus prayed just before taking up the cross:

“Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.”    John 17:24.

So much awaits the faithful travelers in Christ! Jesus took that first high path, he prepared the way for his children so that we would find it. What better reason to read the gospels?  He guides us through to see His glory! That great mercy is extended to all who trust Him taking the path of faith in Him.

 Both in the Czech park and in faith, those who fail to enter the forbidding path will miss the magnificence, not just a hike, but the joy of journeying with God Himself-- in this life, and the next!

Photo: Nate Atwood @ Flickr

About author

 A transplanted Texan with more years in Poland than in the USA.
A retired teacher of English as a foreign language, she loves classical music, hiking in nature, reading, and writing.
She is married to her marvelous husband, Adam, and loves their two children, with two rambunctious toddler grandchildren completing the joy of family.
God has given her countless opportunities to see His goodness through the years together with the challenges life has brought. Those lessons are the subject of her writing.Show less

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