Path to the Cross

by Bellyn Whitteker

It was a warm summer day when I arrived at the Hokey Pokey Ranch in Colorado for a Listen to My Life Retreat. As I began to settle in and become acquainted with a few of the others, I heard about a tall wooden cross located a short distance from the main building. A frequent visitor to the ranch had laid out a new path through sagebrush and across a gully with bushes marked by colored tags and stones along the way. “If you look for the signs and follow the path,” I was told, “the way is easy.”

I set out the next afternoon, and although the directions to follow the signs “just over the ridge” didn’t sound difficult, I found myself walking around in circles trying to find the way. My frustration had turned to anger, and I became even more determined to find it on my own. I countered my fear and plunged straight ahead into the brush. I kept going until I came upon a ravine and could see the cross on the next ridge over. As I looked down, I saw a bush marked by a colored tape and realized I had actually found the path!

Lesson learned — I stayed on the path now, as it did a switchback up the ridge. I came up to a bench that wasn’t visible from below. I sat down and looked up at the simple, wooden cross before me. I was reminded of a Lectio Divina around Isaiah 43 from that morning, when God placed the word “honored” on my heart. I chose a rock, set my intention, and added it to the existing pile. I asked God to forgive my anger and stubborn determination to do it my own way. I rested on that bench at the foot of the cross, knowing I had been completely forgiven.

I thought of the first half of my life and how I struggled to see God in my story. But God was always there, gently leading me to the path He had set for me. Even so, I still took shortcuts, looking for the “easy way” which only led to setbacks and hard times. Going back to God through Jesus Christ provided me the way to lay down my frustrations and my despair of this life at the foot of the Cross. And there I find myself again, seeking to trust Him with my whole heart, soul, and strength.

My life story is not finished. As I continue to update my maps, I am able to see God continuing to lead me on my life’s path.

 

Scripture:

“Others were given in exchange for you. I traded their lives for yours because you are precious to me. You are honored, and I love you.” Isaiah 43:4

Questions to Ponder:

  • What hooks from your past are affecting your present? Is it time to let go of them?
  • When have you wandered from following Jesus?
  • What would it feel like to know that you are complete in His forgiveness of your sins? That the Cross was the completion?

Prayer:

Lord Jesus, help me to stay focused on following You as I seek to serve those you have called me to serve. May I move peacefully and gracefully in the freedom You have given to share Your love freely, listen well, and point others to see the fingerprints You are leaving in their lives. Amen.

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