The words of Robert Frost rang in my head as I tried to go to sleep.
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth …
As a high school student, it was mandatory that everyone memorize “The Road Not Taken” as part of their English studies. I remember loving the imagery the poem evokes. Perhaps it was the cadence and the way the words seemed to dance on my tongue, or the thought of having two roads to choose from.
The past few months I have been reading the story of the Israelites in the book of Exodus. At one point Moses is stuck between the Red Sea and 600 chariots coming after him. As I lay in bed thinking that night, this phrase kept running through my head,
“God seems to like the Red Sea moments, while I like a 5-year plan.”
I can recount many “Red Sea moments” from my own life and those of my friends. I remember one friend who faced a Red Sea moment when they adopted a child with medical needs not knowing if their insurance would cover her. Do they obey what God has told them to do or change their mind about adoption? If God didn’t provide, the medical bills this little one would incur would wipe them out financially. My friends brought their daughter home not knowing what would happen. The night before they took her to the hospital in the US, they got word the insurance company had changed their mind! Her bills would now be covered!
Recently my dad shared with me a story about an African pastor we had met many years ago in Africa. This pastor felt God was asking him to go to Canada. He had no money. God miraculously provided enough money for the trip, but only enough to get to the United States.
Upon arrival in the US, the African pastor looked for a church to go into and pray. He was fasting and praying that God would provide the additional money needed to get to Canada. Unknown to him, he walked into the church of a young man who had gone to Africa on a missions trip during his youth. This young man had worked with this African pastor several years prior! After this “chance” meeting, the additional money was provided through someone at the hotel the pastor was staying in! Now, not only did the pastor have enough to make it to Canada, God had reconnected him with a brother in Christ!
What if the African pastor friend had given up when he first realized he was short on funds? What if he had disobeyed because he didn’t have enough to get all the way? The pastor definitely faced his “Red Sea moment” but decided to trust and obey.
What keeps us from believing during these Red Sea moments? Perhaps it is our own pride and unbelief. My husband and I have often felt this over the past few years. There have been times we thought “If God doesn’t provide for us in the way we think He will, we will look like the dumbest people in the world!” I somehow forgot that this journey isn’t about my reputation or image. It is about the glory of God being displayed through my life.
Last week I ran across a verse I don’t remember seeing before. If the verse could have shouted any louder at me I would be deaf! Psalm 31:3 tells us, “For you are my rock and my fortress and for your name’s sake you lead me and guide me.” The verse didn’t say it was for my good reputation that He leads me. In fact, it really has nothing to do with me!
The Psalm tells us it is for your name’s sake that you lead us.
When I look at it from that perspective, it actually brings hope! The pressure is off! My reputation and my “image” don’t matter because my journey wasn’t meant to reflect my ability to plan and predict my every move. My life was meant to reflect the one who is leading me on the journey. I just need to pick the path the He is leading me down.
As Robert Frost ends his poem…
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.