I have been practicing ‘the way’. When I was a child, I thought I understood what ‘the way’ meant and how to practice it. Be kind to others. Protect those who can’t protect themselves, give when you can, go to church, don’t curse, don’t lie, don’t drink, and don’t steal. Hard work is rewarded, so work hard and earn respect by giving it.
As I grew I learned hard work is not always rewarded and respect is hard to find. My list of don’ts wasn’t always convenient and didn’t always answer why. I felt cheated, because I was naive. I had only scratched the surface of ‘the way’. Similar to a child told not to touch the stove, or not to cross the street without looking both ways, never was the only option to avoid pain. The world is painted in black and white for a child, a concrete understanding of what to do and not to do. Life is far more complicated, but too difficult to explain to a child. So, we relegate ourselves to just enough hoping it will be enough to sustain us. There is so much more to understand.
I am reminded of Jesus who asked His disciples, “. . . Do you still not see or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear (Mark 8:17,18)?” We can’t feel too awful about it, I mean these twelve guys spent three years with God and still didn’t understand. It obviously isn’t easy. The enemy has so many distractions, and we have so many desires based on reckless knowledge.
I envy children. They see the good and joy in the smallest things, a silly dance, a funny face, rocks, sticks, and dirt. My daughter squeals with delight, “Thank you daddy.” She laughs when we cook together and I help her pour in the ingredients. “Woaw.” She breathes as we watch the dough rise. Her imagination is so big as she dances with her dolls and speaks with her stuffed animals. Sometimes we catch her singing her own songs before she knows we are watching.
I fear for her as I think of the world outside our family. The lessons she will have to learn, the heartache she must experience. She must learn to navigate the world, I can only hope what I teach her now will allow her to choose good and trust God when it matters. The true God, not money or security or the gods of selfishness, violence, war, pride, fear, jealousy, envy, death . . . These are distractions, drives to what humanity believes to be life or good. It only ends in death. They are not ‘the way’. They are disaster and toxic. A sweet tonic that poisons.
God is real.
That’s the best way I have to say it. God works in sacrifice, He elevates the lowly, the humble, the meek. It’s God who directs and restores. It’s God who will bring peace. He set the example in Jesus, in Himself, His sacrifice. He made humanity from dirt and elevating them above the angels. That’s the point, life is found in death, sacrifice. ‘The way’ is about choosing life by sacrificing. God showed us ‘the way’ through His example in Jesus. As Jesus lived, so we are to commit ourselves to lives lived for others. This is ‘the way’. ‘The way’ to peace. ‘The way’ to life. Putting our trust in God is ‘the way’.
To be successful we must have faith God has provided and will provide.
“This is the way.”