“You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.” Matthew 7:13-14 NLT
As Christians, if God told us all the things we would incur during this life, I wonder if we would make it to our assignments. In fact, if we knew sometimes it would be difficult, I wonder if we would muster up enough courage to even begin our journey. I have been pondering a lot about this concept lately, especially since my most recent road trip.
In July, I had the pleasure of traveling through the southeast where I met some of you along the way at CLS Chapter meetings and lunches. After meeting with a group of attorneys in Charlotte, North Carolina, I began to make my way to Dalton, Georgia. Along the way, I decided to stop and visit my niece who is in college in North Carolina. After having dinner with her, I jumped in the car to head to Georgia. Little did I know that I would have to travel around the great Smokey Mountains of North Carolina to reach my destination. Even as a native North Carolinian, I was unfamiliar with this part of the state. To say the drive from North Carolina to Georgia was scary would be a huge understatement. In fact, it was probably the scariest drive I have ever had to make in my life. I am NOT kidding.
Let me paint the picture for you. I was driving on a narrow, two-lane highway for most of the drive. It was raining that night, and I could barely see the road in front of me. To my immediate left was a ginormous, never-ending mountain that bulged out so close to the road that if I stopped, I could reach out and touch it. Not far from the right-hand side of my car was a deep valley. To this day, I cannot share the details of what laid below because I refrained from looking down. My number one priority was to keep my eyes on the road ahead of me and make it to Dalton, Georgia, safely. I am happy to say that is exactly what I did, though it was not without mixed emotions along the way.
Because of this uncertainty of a drive and having a little more than a two-hour drive, I decided to call my parents and catch up with them. In the middle of my conversation with my dad, however, I lost cell phone reception. This lasted for almost an hour. At this point I realized I had to do something else to pass the time and alleviate my fears of this dark and hazy experience. None of the worship music on the radio was sufficient. Unable to reach my earthly father, I realized I should probably talk to my heavenly Father. That is exactly what I did for the next hour or so, and the conversation was intense. Mostly just prayers expressing my fear of being by myself on this dark, lonely, and narrow road. Minutes went by with no cars in front of me and no cars in the oncoming traffic. My GPS even stopped calculating at one point. Yet the massive mountain to my left was not going anywhere for what seemed like forever. After a period, it felt as though I had probably circled the entire mountain. Eventually, I reached a point where the mountain was not as close, and the road ahead was lit with streetlights. I finally saw some signs of civilization and the sight of a state trooper on the side of the road gave me a gleamer of hope. My GPS began to speak again as my cell phone reception picked back up. Finally, I was almost at my destination. After a few more turns, the mountain was in the distance, and I made it safely to my hotel. The next morning, I met up with some attorneys in Dalton, Georgia, and all was well. Then I headed on to Florida to continue to meet with other groups. Afterwards, I flew back home to Maryland, safe and sound.
The overall trip was amazing. I loved visiting with my niece. I met some wonderful CLS members, and I enjoyed a great time of fellowship throughout the week. When I started this trip, I had no idea what all I would encounter during my drive because I had never driven to most of these cities. I can promise you this: there is no way I would have taken this route had I known it entailed driving around that mountain. Perhaps I would have left in the daylight rather than go around the mountain at dark. Or maybe I would have had a good podcast cued up for the drive. Better yet, I probably would have spent the night in North Carolina and drove during the daylight to Georgia. Needless to say, I did not realize I would encounter such difficulties along the way.
Isn’t that how life is sometimes? God promises us in His word that we will face mountains (or trials) in life. We have no idea what we will face at times. We get going on a journey to whatever the destination may be, and we encounter some unexpected obstacles or challenges that we must work through. It can be our health, our career, our family, or the cultural pressures and many other things in life.
The scripture in Matthew deals with eternal life. After my trip, I began to think about life here on earth and found myself reflecting on Matthew 7:13-14. This scripture tells us that the gateway to life is very narrow. It reminded of the road I traveled from North Carolina to Georgia. It was very narrow!
God also warns us that the road is difficult but oftentimes we forget until we start on our path. As Christians, we may feel as though we should not have to encounter troubles along the path of life. I also think it’s so important we keep in mind that life will not always be easy; however, God is with us along the way, just as He was with me while I drove that night. Even though it was very lonely, God was with me.
Sometimes in the journey of life we may face obstacles, but if we keep our eyes focused on our own path, we will make it to our destination. I just kept hearing God saying to focus on the road ahead and not what was around me. If I were to have focused on my circumstances (the mountain to my left or the deep valley below), I would have gotten off course. But with my focus on Jesus (and the road ahead), I made it safely to my destination despite the rain and limited visibility.
I want to encourage each of you today. While there may be difficult roads ahead, some of which are certainly less traveled, we must stay focused on our callings as Christian attorneys. With Jesus Christ as our internal GPS, He will lead and guide us to our individual destinations and help us along the way.
Blessings ~ Lakuita