Two ways: The road less traveled

Matthew 7--14

The Verse of the Day for June 9, 2014 is found in Matthew 7:13-14 (AMP)

13 Enter through the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and spacious and broad is the way that leads away to destruction, and many are those who are entering through it.

14 But the gate is narrow (contracted by pressure) and the way is straitened and compressed that leads away to life, and few are those who find it.

The passage speaks of two contrasting “ways”: “the broad way” and the “narrow way”—two paths that lead to differing destinations. In a previous blog entry I discussed the concept of a road, a path or a way, looking at the Hebrew word derek which is translated “way, road, path, distance, journey, manner.” It is also referred to as direction, manner, habit, way of life, a course of life or mode of action, a lifestyle.

In the New Testament, the Greek word hodos is translated “a way, a travelled way, road, and when used as a metaphor it means “a course of conduct” “a way (i.e., manner of thinking, feeling, deciding. It is used 100 times with 54 of those times the word is translated “way.”

Upon further reflection, a confluence of poetry floods my mind regarding the term “way”, beginning with a popular poem of the 20th Century by John Oxenham (William Dunkerley):

The Ways

To every man there openeth
A Way, and Ways, and a Way.
And the High Soul climbs the High Way,
And the Low Soul gropes the Low,
And in between, on the misty flats,
The rest drift to and fro.
But to every man there openeth
A High Way, and a Low.
And every man decideth
The way his soul shall go.

A week or so ago, a former high school class mate sent me a photo of our junior English teacher, Mrs. Hortense House, who required our class to memorize two poems “Barter” by Sara Teasdale and “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost, both of which I committed to memory 56 years ago, and I still find them applicable today. “The Road Not Taken” found its way into this poem posted in a previous blog entry related to the Matthew 7:13-14 where I speak of the will of God as being “the road less travelled.” I recognize now more clearly than ever what that means in light of the poem that I first memorized years 58 ago. Here is the poem that I wrote:

The Will of God: the Road Less Traveled by

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

The Road Not Taken

—Robert Frost

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world,

but let God transform you into a new person

by changing the way you think.  Then you will learn

to know God’s will for you, which is good and

pleasing and perfect.

Romans 12:2 (New Living Translation)

 

I begin again this year of my jubilee.

Reflecting on life’s journey, I cannot deny

That the will of God is the road less traveled by:

To choose to serve, even though having been set free.

The straight and narrow way I once again select.

I press on, still striving toward the highest good.

In this place we renew our covenant of blood,

Reassured that “As for God His way is perfect.”

I see clearly with new eyes where our paths have led.

In the midst of turbulent times I remain still,

Proving that good and acceptable and perfect will.

I look back, waiting in the now, then look ahead.

Each day God offers another chance to commence:

The choice to do God’s will makes all the difference.

To follow the Will of God is to decide which path you are going to take. Many times it is easier to follow our own path and seek our own way rather than God’s way or God’s will. This anonymous poem gives us comfort and consolation when we decide to take the road less traveled by and follow God’s will, no matter where it takes us:

The Will of God

Author: Unknown

The will of God will never take you,
Where the grace of God cannot keep you.
Where the arms of God cannot support you,
Where the riches of God cannot supply your needs,
Where the power of God cannot endow you.

The will of God will never take you,
Where the spirit of God cannot work through you,
Where the wisdom of God cannot teach you,
Where the army of God cannot protect you,
Where the hands of God cannot mold you.

The will of God will never take you,
Where the love of God cannot enfold you,
Where the mercies of God cannot sustain you,
Where the peace of God cannot calm your fears,
Where the authority of God cannot overrule for you.

The will of God will never take you,
Where the comfort of God cannot dry your tears;
Where the Word of God cannot feed you,
Where the miracles of God cannot be done for you,
Where the omnipresence of God cannot find you.

George Strait offers “The Road Less Traveled” which captures the essence of the passage from Matthew 7:13-14 and the poetry that it evokes:

 

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