As I stood on the ridge that overlooked the rolling foothills, green pastures, and valley below, I was flooded with joy and gladness. I felt like I was up on the high places with the Lord, looking down into the valley I had once been a part of. It had been a long journey, and I felt peace and joy sweep over me as I took a deep breath, taking in the view before me, and remembering the past. I was so thankful I was no longer down in the valley, but up in the high places communing with my Good Shepherd.
Following the trail around the edge of the ridge, I left the view of the valley and headed back into the wooded areas. My trail soon ended, and I was faced with three choices. There was a canal I could follow, a newly gravelled road, and a well- traveled dirt road that headed up the hill. All three went in the direction I needed to go to get back home.
As I had been walking I had been talking with the Lord. I was thinking about my happy place. Often I had heard women talking about their happy place, typically, it was somewhere in their home. I was thinking, where is my happy place? I need to have a happy place. And, at the same time, I was talking with Jesus about how I wanted to stay walking close with Him always because when I am with Him, I am safe and happy. It was then that it occurred to me. Jesus is my happy place, and as long as I stay with Him, all is well. With Jesus, I can be in my happy place wherever I am, as it is not an actual place, but a state of being, a state of being with Jesus.
I looked at my three path choices. I considered the canal and quickly ruled it out. It looked like a narrow path that would be hard for me to maneuver through, as I also had my faithful walking partner, my dog, walking alongside me. The gravel path looked hot and uncomfortable to walk on, so I immediately ruled that out. The dirt road looked soft and alluring. It meandered through a field filled with wildflowers and oak trees, and so did I.
As I walked along the dirt road, I admired the purple wildflowers that dotted the fields that ran along both sides of me. The sky was gorgeous blue and looking through the scrub oaks, I could catch small glimpses of the valley below. I felt free and was delighted to be walking with my Savior along this magnificent road that would lead me home.
As I traversed on, I soon approached cell towers, satellite dishes, and other towers for communication. I had come to a dead-end and was completely fenced in. There were warning and video surveillance signs posted. The chain link fence was topped with razor-sharp barbed wire. There was no way out. I felt trapped. I would have to back track and find another route home. I was disappointed I had gone all that way, for nothing.
As I retraced my path, the Lord began to speak to me. Here I was, rejoicing and walking with Him, thinking about my happy place being with the Lord and always wanting to stay at His side, and in my bliss what had happened? I was walking along enjoying the beauty around me, the blue sky, and warm sunshine and all the while was headed to a dangerous dead-end!
Then I realized. When I had to choose what road to take, I just made a decision based off what I perceived to be a good and right way to go, and kept right on walking. How typical that is. How often I make decisions in life without asking the Lord! And, look where it got me. I chose the road that looked pleasant, but that was a road that put me in danger and led only to discouragement.
When I got back to the split in the roads, I asked the Lord which way I should go. Clearly, I was to take the canal. At first glance, it had looked like the path was going to be too narrow, but once on it I found there was more than enough room. It was a safe and smooth walk with views of my tiny town below. Off in the distance, I could see familiar landmarks that made the walk all the more interesting and heartwarming for me.
As I plodded along, I noticed the gravel road was paralleling the canal path I was walking along. I soon saw that at the end of that road was a large water tower surrounded by the same chain link fence with barbed razor wire at the top. Had I gone down that road, the path would have been jagged and rough with large rocks for my footing, and I would have gotten stuck between the water tower and the canal, as there was no way to get over the waterway. Clearly, that would also have been the wrong road to take.
It all seemed clear to me, now, as I walked along the canal that was leading me back towards the quaint little town I called my home. How easy it is to become lackadaisical in our walk with the Lord. How often in life we neglect to talk with the Lord, even when He is walking right there beside us. How easy it is to get distracted, off focus, or just make a decision on our own because in our mind’s eye it makes perfect sense, only to find ourselves disappointed and in a potentially harmful situation or a place we should never have gone.
To stay in the high places with the Lord, we must be in continual fellowship with our Good Shepherd. The path that appears to us as the best, or easiest, may not be what it seems. Following that well–traveled road that others are taking, may be a complete dead-end for you. Only through communication with our Savior can you be sure if you are on the right path. Ask and then listen to Jesus. He alone knows the right path for you to take. He knows what is best for you. He alone will guide and direct you. As you are walking with the Good Shepherd, embrace the journey and hold tightly to His hand and He will bring you to the high places, and it will be spectacular!
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