Friday, December 11, 2015

Finding Christmas: Hidden Paths

Today's topic is one that is seldom discussed, but is the part of discipleship that makes it exciting and fresh. Ever new. It's the topic of hidden (or unknown) paths.

When I was a youth, it seemed to me that the "exciting" part of discipleship was missing in the church. Where were the miracles? Where was the life of the apostles in modern-day believers? 

I was told those miracles were just "to get the church up and running". That seemed a ridiculous way for a god to do business. How much god-ness could there be if there was only enough of the good stuff for one century? 

It tooks years, and considerable wandering from my faith, before I found that the God of the first century is also the God of this century. His power is in no way diminished. He has saved miracles for me. For our generation.

Isaiah speaks of one of these delights of discipleship in Isaiah 42:16 nasb. 

"And I will lead the blind by a way they do not know,
In paths they do not know I will guide them. 
I will make darkness into light before them
And rugged places into plains.
These are the things I will do,
And I will not leave them undone."

Disciples are supposed  to follow God into places we don't know and trust Him to lead us and help us. It's where the best fruit is hidden. 

Unknown paths are where the most fun happens.

It sounds frightening to be led about like a blind man, but this business of being led on an unknown path is not like that at all. By hidden or unknown, I mean a path I'm not expecting. 

For example, buying a farm and cattle when I'd never even touched a cow. I spent a quarter of a century raising cattle and I did it because God leveled the plains and shed light in my darkness. He helped me. 

When a cow reached up to grab some leaves off a tree and got her neck stuck in the vee of the tree, I didn't know what to do. I asked God and He helped me. We got her head free and she lived to raise more calves. 

 Leaving medicine to write and make pottery was another of those paths I did not know.

I didn't know how to make pottery or sell pottery, but God helped me. I wasn't a great success (by the world's standards) at being a potter, but I kept food on my table, a roof over our heads, and I was accepted into juried shows because of my designs.

During that time, I reared my son. He learned to care for livestock, take responsibility, help others, live frugally, be a good steward. Many of the good things I see in him now were deeply planted during that time. I cared for Sam, my neighbor, who had brain surgery and a difficult recovery. I cared for my mother, who faced loss of sight and moving from the town in which she'd lived for more than a half-century. None of those things would have been done as well (or at all) if I had not followed the path I did not know.

God made rugged places into plains and I traversed them because He helped me find my way.

Writing fiction has been the same kind of adventure. I was definitely the blind being led in a way I did not know when I began. But God. God has made darkness into light and rugged places into plains. The best part is this journey is only just beginning. Who knows where this will lead? Only God.

At sixty years old, I'm still having adventures with God on a daily basis. When I'm ninety, I expect He will still be leading me through paths I do not know. He will still be making darkness into light and rugged places into plains. 

Why can I be sure of that? Because I am not content to walk only paths I know. Where's the fun in that? Where's the God-adventure in that?

There's one key element in this unknown path journey. Surrender. (You might want to read these two blog posts again: Importance of Surrender and Ongoing Surrender to prepare for the next step.)

This Christmas, do something incredibly daring. Surrender to His ways. Ask God to lead you in a way you do not know. 

He may not call you to raise cattle or care for the sick or write a book, but He will lead and it will be worth it. 

The most fun and the sweetest times are waiting on the path He has chosen. They can be yours.

If you follow.

In case you missed any of the past week's posts, here are the links: Finding Christmas: Making Choices that CountFinding Christmas: Truth, Tradition, and Choice,  Finding Christmas: The Joy of RelationshipFinding Christmas: The Word of GodFinding Christmas: The Importance of Surrender,  Finding Christmas: Separating Truth and Fiction, and Finding Christmas: Ongoing Surrender.

The most read post of the last week: Finding Christmas: When Life is Less than Perfect
 #Advent #keepChristinChristmas #MerryChristmas #JesusChrist #disciple #surrender #hiddenpaths #follow

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