Robert Frost so famously wrote in the final lines of his poem, “The Road Not Taken,” “…Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”
As I stand at another crossroads of my own, God has prepared an unusual circumstance, in that both roads in my journey are “the one less traveled,” regardless of which one I choose. Unlike Frost’s divergence, where one path eventually proves morally significant over the other, with my choice, each has the potential to share the Word of God in the duties required. In other words, they both have the ability to become blessings to others, in that I will be serving the Lord on either journey; and that, yes, that fact truly makes all the difference.
As a matter of confirmation, I was afforded an opportunity to interview with a school the first part of this week. I had just got through sharing my testimony with a friend when the phone rang. Like Abraham at the altar, Isaac lying bound below his knife blade, the feeling of his muscles’ s tightening in his shoulders as he was about to drive the blade into his son; my path seemed perfectly clear, the decision to follow through with what God had provided was made, there was no turning back. But then, in my case, the phone rang. In Abraham’s, God sent an Angel of the Lord. The parallel, as it ran through my mind, literally made me laugh as I answered the call. The caller was from a school that I had applied for many months ago, so it was a bit of a surprise when they called Monday morning asking if I could come in Tuesday for the interview. Knowing that God has prepared one path already, I was a bit hesitant, but thought that at least I should perform my due diligence.
“Was this God seeing how committed I was to finally accepting the position at the Children’s Home, and then providing me an opportunity to go on to a job that would allow me to more easily provide for my family?” “Was this like Abraham, where he could see that I was going to follow through with it, no matter the cost?”
It was with these questions in mind that I drove to the school the next day for the interview. I felt wonderful, and it was a beautiful day; clear blue skies, low humidity, and a feeling inside that God was with me, no matter what. The interview went very well, and it seemed that I was always one step ahead on the panel’s questions. They told me before I left that they would have an answer within a couple days. By the next morning, Wednesday they had made a decision; one that didn’t include me.
In many ways, the news was a relief. I thanked God out loud, for it was as if He had chosen for me. He knows us better than we know ourselves, and that being the case, would understand how hard it would be for me to decide between the two. Comforted once more that God is in control, I returned to work on the Retreat; there was always one more thing to be done.
Thursday came, and once more, there was another knock on the door.
I opened the email, and there was another opportunity to interview with another potential employer that I had applied for many weeks earlier. They had moved my application to the next round of the selection process, which meant they were giving me 72 hours to perform the interview and submit it for review. Once again, making sure I performed my due diligence, I logged into the web site on Friday and began answering the question. Before beginning, I prayed that if this was God’s way of holding the best until last, then so be it, but that I was already more than well pleased with the choice He had provided. The questions were not of the customary type, but rather, asked things like, “How do you grow and maintain your walk with Christ?” “What was your personal testimony with regard to accepting Christ, and how have you continued that walk?” In each case, there was so much I wanted to share, but the challenge was a one-minute time limit on each response. Needless to say, it took a lot of effort to pare down all that I wanted to say and get it to fit into the concise timeframe required.
Thankfully, there was no limit on the amount of time given to think about each question, and as I peered out the vista before me, I began to reflect on all that had transpired this past summer and how it had been one of the most challenging periods of waiting for God to speak to me in my life. My setting for the interview was at the Lodge, a place in our community that literally sits on top of a mountain that provides a 360-degree long-range view of mountains, as far as the eye can see. From my mountain top vantage, there was the feeling of being literally closer to God. One question after another, my reflection kept reminding me that I had never been alone, even when I felt the loneliest. Looking back, those solitary moments were steppingstones to the answers that would play out. In the waiting, there was the feeling that God was working on something big; something that would make it clear there was much to do in order to make it possible. Because, with God, nothing is impossible.
Finally, after the last question, I hit the submit button.
It was done.
Have you ever completed something and wondered how well it went? Did you get the sudden feeling that there many things you hadn’t said that you could have? These questions and others began to form in my mind, but as they did, there was the comforting hand of God upon me, consoling me, assuring me that this was all that was needed. There was nothing left to be done.
Lowering my head in prayer, I began to thank God for the opportunity, regardless if I got the position or not. In my heart, it felt as if God was allowing me to see that He was covering all the bases. Should I finally, and ultimately land at the Children’s Home, I will have the comforting sense of satisfaction knowing that all the other doors of possible paths had been covered and provided. Each one, even though they chose another candidate, allowed me to see that He was listening and that he had put me where he needed me the most. In the end, although I initially felt like Abraham at the altar, I realized that God was just letting me know that there should be no other questions about his desire for me to be where he wants me to serve.
Talk about a feeling of God’s hand upon your very heart; there is no greater satisfaction in this world than knowing you are being cared for by the Almighty God.
In every step of this long summer’s journey, as my ability to provide for my family has diminished; when there was no more job, when we lost our medical insurance when health issues began to arise, God was with us. He was providing for us in each time of need; albeit finances, medical insurance, health, and strength.
The scripture from 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 keeps coming back to me. It can best summarize the recent course of events in, “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”
“I must decrease, so that he may increase,” said John the Baptist, and for my walk of faith, it is the same. “When we are at our weakest, he is strongest,” wrote the Apostle Paul, and it has never been clearer in my own life.
Where the next few days, weeks, or months will take me, I cannot say.
But one thing I do know, wherever He leads, I will follow.
And in that, we can most assuredly say, “Thanks be to God.”