Monday, February 25, 2008

What path do we take?

They say water takes the path of least resistance. Evidence of that is seen when rivers cuts valleys through solid rock, streams that meander through cow pastures, and flood waters that settle in the lowest areas of land. As I thought about that well-proven saying over the weekend, my mind was taken to how we view paths in this present day.

Where Ell and I live there is still about six inches of snow on the ground. As we prepared for the Jamaican Party, I noticed there was only one path in the snow between our driveway and the house. That path led from where we parked our cars and then straight to our back door. As I tried to figure out where people would be parking, I quickly noticed most of the people wouldn't be able to see that one path. So, both so our guests wouldn't have to walk through calf-deep snow and so Ell wouldn't have a wet kitchen floor, I started stepping out a path from the other side of the driveway towards the back door.

As I tramped down the cold, wet snow I looked around to see what other paths we'd made in the snow around our home. There were only two; one to the garden and a well-worn one from the porch to the woodpile. The first we used to dump our compost which would eventually help us feed ourselves, and the latter was used everyday to keep us warm and alive in the harshness of the winter season. Both were made out of true necessity, but neither were paths that might exist at anyone else's home. Interesting thought, huh?

Later that evening during the party, I wandered into a conversation between my friend's Mike and Grant. The topic at hand was the calling of God and Grant posed the question, "Do we all have a path laid out for us?" As I pondered his question my mind went to the paths in my yard. Does each of us have our own paths of necessity that are not the paths even our neighbor's share? And then as if Grant was reading my mind, he asked, "How do we figure out [where to tramp out] our paths if we don't even know where we're going?"

I wish I could say I had some profound answers to my friend's questions, but I did not. I was standing there wondering the same things. Our paths in the snow were the results of Ell and I wanting to spend as little time as we had to in the wintry conditions; the least resistance as it were. We hadn't made the paths to make any kind of impact on anyone else's lives; we simply went the easiest way. But when it comes to following life paths, I'm not sure the easiest way or the shortest distance is always the right approach.

What came out of that conversation was a basic question: Did God still [in 2008] call people to specific paths and if so where is the biblical and physical proof of that positive answer? Do we all have a path laid out for us by our creator? Do we all really have the capacity to know our goals and in return work towards them? We were beginning to doubt there were positive answers to those questions because so many people seem to be searching without any focus or calling or path to follow (or pursue.)

(On a side note, one problem in having a discussion about God's calling is there are brazen people who insinuate folks that are lost aren't truly searching or worse yet, not really Christians. And people wonder why non-Christians call Christians judgmental. If you have it figured out, share your experience with others, and don't ridicule them.)

So what do you think? Does God still "call" people? Do we all have our own paths and we just need to tramp them out in the coldness of the world? Do you think talents and natural skills are ways God gives us clues to where we should be heading? Or do you have another theory? The forum is open...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting, though provoking post. I suppose I'm an agnostic on this issue, as I am on most of these issues. It would be nice to think there is "purpose" to our lives, and that it's not all random. I do believe that there is more in the universe than what is readily apparent to our five senses, so in this sense I differ from the atheists. But as to what form this other world takes, who can say?


7:26 PM  
Blogger Adrienne said...

I'm thinking the "Path of least resistance" is to not talk about our paths...:0

I have some thoughts, of course...give me a bit and I'll try to post one or two of 'em.

10:10 PM  
Blogger Sweet Peripety said...

very good post. for me (only speaking for me) talents and natural abilities SEEM to be pointing a path,but they also get in the way.

3:56 PM  
Blogger Adrienne said...

My dad had a very close friend who is loud, obnxious, oustpoken and a great man of God. The hard thing with this guy is separating his obnoxiousness from the word of God coming through him.

That said, he's mentioned how different the walk of Christ is from years past...he says the Gifts are gone or nearly gone, the direct point a to point b path is not so much, etc.

I think there is some validity to that...however, I think we do still have callings, or paths, I just think that maybe it's more like a map...but, we have the wheel and we can choose to go whichever way we want...sometimes we screw up and maybe God reroutes us to come to the same end...maybe He sometimes makes the brakes stick so that we don't fly off the edge of a cliff when we're trying, or maybe He just lets us go and see where we end up on our owns.

I don't really know, of course - I've learned in the last 2 years that sometimes we simply can't take the path that we want...but in spite of all that, I cannot say I believe God forces His will upon us. (He just makes it impossible to say no. :)

Well, that takes care of that. With such an intelligent and eloquent response I don't think there should be any questions left, in anyone's mind, about the future of God and People.

3:08 PM  
Blogger Seeking More said...

I personally think that God always has a path laid out for us in His plan. I think that the route that we take to this path is very bendy and twisty because of free will. I feel that, even at times when I wander far off this path, God finds a way to bring me back to it. Sometimes He brings me back through tragedy or sometimes through blessings in my life. As far as proof of this, I don't have an answer. If we follow Gods plan perfectly, it would seem the path of least resistance. The straight "way" to Him. But who, aside from Jesus, can wander this path in perfect straight strides? I don't know. Not me FOR SURE. I have no answers, just thoughts.

5:28 PM  
Blogger HennHouse said...

Yes. God still calls. And when He calls us to something that we think is outside of our abilities or desires or comfort zone, he provides the strength to answer that call. I never imagined being mom to my three, but in answering God's call to parent them, I have been given far more than if I had followed my own path. This path is brighter. This path is better.

10:50 AM  

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