“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I —
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”
—Robert Frost (1874 – 1963)
I was reminded of these lines from Frost’s poem, “The Road Not Taken,” when reading Matthew 7:13-14.
Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.
At some point in time our journey brought us to a place where two roads diverged. We had a choice to make. One path was wide and looked easy. Many were taking that wide path. The other was narrow and less traveled and through Gods grace we took this path, not knowing that it was also the harder road.
Many American Christians, once they discovered that the narrow road is also the harder road, begin to turn it into a wide easy path by conforming to the twin cultural values of consumerism and individualism. They want the big home, SUV, best private schools, status, vacations home, fishing boat, high paying job — you name it. If it is of the world, they live it and have it. They attempt to remove all hardship and discomfort. They transform their faith community to this consumerism focused on the individual and their needs. Some even wonder why they live such unfruitful lives with no passion for the things of God, never hearing or experiencing his touch.
But for those who embrace life as pilgrimage down a challenging and narrow path, they understand the deep insight reflected in Eugene Peterson’s wonderful translation of Psalm 84:5-7.
And how blessed all those in whom you [God] live,
whose lives become roads you travel;
They wind through lonesome valleys, come upon brooks,
discover cool springs and pools brimming with rain!
God-traveled, these roads curve up the mountain, and
at the last turn — Zion! God in full view! (Psalm 84:5-7, The Message)
Life as pilgrimage and journey down roads he travels, embracing hardship and transformational experiences found along those narrow, lonesome, God-traveled roads until, at last turning the final corner, we see God in full view. We can then truly say, I took the one less traveled by, that has made all the difference.