By DANNY MINTON
I recently watched a TV drama where a man’s wife and son were kidnapped. He searched for them, but the area where they were taken was unfamiliar to him. The man decided to hire a guide who knew the territory and could help him navigate the many places he could look to find his family. He followed the guide for several miles with the guide finding evidence that they had passed through several different areas. As the journey continued, the two men came to a fork in the road. The conversation went something like this:
“Which way do we go now?” asked the husband and father
“We have to choose which one to take,” came the guide’s answer.
“How do we do that?”
The guide pulls out a coin from his pocket, “Call it heads or tails?”
“You’re going to flip a coin?”
“Call it. Tails go to the left, and heads go to the right. Call it.”
“It’s tails; we’ll go left.”
Confused, the man asked the guide, “What if we don’t find them that way?”
“Then,” the guide replied, “We’ll come back and go the other way.”
The conversation and the end reply made me stop and think about our lives. How often have we decided on something only to find out sometime later that the choice wasn’t the best one we could have made. At this point, many of us go into a time of depression or self-doubt, while others find themselves stuck and blind to other options that might be around them. We fail to realize that in most cases, going down the wrong path does not mean it has to end in some disaster. There are always other paths that we can choose to take, even if we must step back and, at the worst, start over.
There’s a line in the movie “The Sound of Music” that Maria makes as she must leave the abbey. “When the Lord closes a door, somewhere he opens a window.” It simply means that life is never a dead end, no matter what path we may take. We can always find assurance that life can change for the better if we trust in Him. Instead of tossing and turning in our failures or disappointments, we need to learn to open our eyes and hearts to what other ways we can turn for things to change for the better.
I came across an illustration of a man who went to the jungle as a missionary. The village was remote, and a local native was selected to take him to the small outpost where he was to begin his ministry. The journey started on the easy path, but the further they went, it became narrower, and eventually, the native was hacking away at the underbrush to move forward. After a few hours, the missionary finally spoke up, “I’m sorry, but I can’t seem to see the path.” “My friend,” the guide answered. “In the jungle, I am the path.”
Sometimes in our struggle in life, we find ourselves like the missionary, unable to see the path to move on. However, we are encouraged to trust God and follow where He leads. Jesus reminded his followers, “I am the light of the world.” If we keep our eyes on the light, we will never be lost and, at the same time, always find a path to move in the right direction. With Jesus, there is always hope and the promise that we will reach our destination.
Next time you find yourself at what appears to be a dead-end in life, when depression seeps into your thoughts and you feel like giving up, take the time to close your eyes, take a deep breath, and seek the guidance of the Savior. When you come to the end of a path, don’t give up, there will always be another direction to turn. Jesus answers our concerns much like the guide in the jungle. “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” No matter where we are in our life, the path of Jesus is always open.
Danny Minton is an Elder at Southern Hills Church of Christ