Life has a lot of different paths we can take, or as they say in Quantum Physics—life has a lot of different realities. It’s true, but as believers we always want to take the RIGHT path. Right? I know I do. Two times we’re told in the Word to “make straight paths for our feet”: (Heb. 12:13 & Prov. 26). Often I think that if I take the right path then my way will be easy. Miracles will happen—circumstances will fall into place, the answer comes immediately and life is wonderful. But I’ve been a believer long enough to know that some paths are difficult, but I’ve found that the end result is as much of a miracle as the times when the path has been short and the miracle appeared instantly. I have come to believe that a rough path produces faith, character, compassion and endurance. The major problem with a long path is the tendency to not stick with it until the answer comes. That’s why, I believe, most of us seldom see our dreams fulfilled.
Where did all my pensiveness about paths, struggles, and outcomes come from? It came from a couple of biographies I recently read on Thomas Jefferson—one of our Founding Fathers, the third president of the United States and a molder of our Constitution.
Two months ago, John Benefiel, who heads up (Heartland Apostolic Prayer Network) asked me to do research on Thomas Jefferson and his role in education in our country. While reading my second biography on Mr. Jefferson, I realized how difficult it was for our Founding Fathers to devise the Constitution of the United States, and to implement it throughout a new country filled with rugged individualists. There was opposition on every front– the people opposed, some of the key founders preferred a monarchy and wanted a constitution that allowed for a king, others (the Federalists) wanted a strong central government. Jefferson wanted a Republic with a system of checks and balances and no one part would hold all the power. It was a bitter fight with lots of ups and downs. Many enemies were made through the days of creation of this country. It was not an easy path, but one that emerged through trial and error and struggles that contended for the soul of our nation. Only with God’s hand did we emerge as a nation with a unique form of government that would sustain us through the years. The rough, curvy, dangerous path, emerged to a victory for every American.
I thought of all the times in our lives when we go through trials, we often think that we should emerge on the other side of the trial with no detours along our path and without dark nights along the way. We want to get to where we want to be without all the alternate paths that beckon us as we make decisions along the way. But we learn from those short paths that take us in the wrong direction—we learn what does, and doesn’t work. When the night is dark and long, we learn to persevere. When those we trust don’t do what is right, we learn to trust God anyway. Regardless of how dark the night, we hold on to our dreams when they look impossible.
Let us be like David’s mighty men of battle (2 Samuel 23:8-12), who stand in our field of lentils and defeat our enemies. On the occasion of each man’s victory, we are told, “And the Lord brought a great victory.” I suspect that there is a long history between the commitment of each of David’s men and the victory they were responsible for bringing to pass. May we forever look between the lines and realize the perseverance necessary for the Lord to bring a great victory in our lives and in the lives of others.