"Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way. Walk in it." -Isaiah 30:21
I like Isaiah. I like the way the Scripture within that book seems to grab at you from its tissue paper-like page, promising victory and guidance and companionship via an all-powerful Deity. I love the assurances Isaiah often relates. I love the hope it gives. But tonight I'm dining with doubt. Tonight I'm supping with skepticism. After all, what happens when we can't hear a "voice"? What do we do when "the way" isn't self-evident? Or, horror of horrors, what if there's more than ONE WAY?
Not to snub Isaiah for the ramblings of Robert Frost, but, like the beloved poet, my life is diverging into two roads. I must make a decision - very soon - that will impact the course of the rest of my life. Really. And the way I see it, I have two choices: the road less traveled, and the road most traveled. And, like Frost, I'm also certain my choice will make all the difference. So where's my sign that points to my ONE WAY? Where's that voice behind me?
Remember that movie with... oh, it was Gwyneth Paltrow, wasn't it?... that had the different endings? (Something with doors or windows or revolving doors or .... Man! I'm getting old. Please pass the Ginkgo Biloba.) Anyway, remember the movie had vastly different outcomes that hinged on her split-second decision? I fear moments like that - those all-defining, life-encompassing moments that dictate the remainder of our future. I fear them. I loathe them. And yet, here one is, shattering my serenity....
Two roads. One choice. And no voice behind me.
When I was a kid, I wondered if I'd have a made-for-heaven movie waiting on me when I died. I pictured God holding the remote... angels passing out popcorn... and people who knew me best clamoring to get a good cloud-seat. After all, this would be a once-in-all-of-eternity viewing of my earthly life. The un-cut, un-edited version. (Here, I reasoned, my Dad would finally find out who really drove the 3-wheeler into the front of the house. And here, I realized, I'd finally find out if I really was supposed to take over for Barbara Walters.) But later, as I grew older, I worried: would my choice of colleges be one of those moments where God would stand, pause the picture, and elaborate on how my life disintegrated upon that very decision? Would my cloud-seated spectators wince and gasp as they viewed the alternative ending to my life... what I could have been... could have done... had I only chosen the ONE WAY?
Again, two roads. One choice. Where is that voice that's supposed to be behind me?
I don't know about you, but I'm finding myself in a hushed, ears-peeled state of prayer. That's why, when my Jeep rambled by this sign, I had to stop and snap a picture. ONE WAY, the sign says, go left. THE WAY, Isaiah says, walk in it.
If only it were that easy.
But, hey. Hey. Maybe it is. Just maybe it is. As I meditate on that verse, I notice how Isaiah tells God's people how "gracious He will be when you cry for help". (Isaiah 30:19.) How "as soon as He hears, He will answer you," and "whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice...."
You know, maybe the point isn't the ONE WAY. Maybe it's not all about the minutia of our lives or our tedious decisions. Not at all. Maybe it's all about whether we cry for help and then boldly choose a direction - right or left... traveled or less traveled - and then listen for that voice behind us and walk in it.
Yeah. Maybe that's it. Maybe Isaiah is onto something....
ONE WAY. ONE WAY?? It's something to think about. And in the meantime, I have a road to choose.