October 21, 2011

Here’s a Colorado vacation story I want to share.

One particular point on the hiking trail to Ruby Jewel Lake reminds me of the conclusion of Robert Frost’s The Road not Taken. “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.”

Wide pathSignAt the point I’m talking about, the trail appears to go straight ahead. The way is wide and well worn. It looks like everyone goes that way. (See picture on left.) One would not even pause to think about it if it were not for the trail markers on a dead tree to the right of the path. Both indicate you should turn right. (See picture on right.) 

narrow pathYour skepticism increases when you look to the right and note that this way is not well traveled at all, plus a fallen tree even blocks your path. (See picture on right.) So do you believe what seems right or do you believe the sign? When you believe the sign, you discover that even though it is narrower and steeper and filled with an occasional obstacle, this path “less traveled” truly leads you to Ruby Jewel Lake! Along the way you find occasional reassurance as other trail markers remind you that you are indeed on the right path.

Unlike Frost who “kept the first for another day” but doubted he would ever come back, I have taken the easy and wide path. Nice easy walk but it eventually dissolves away and you start wondering where you are and which way to go. And it certainly does not lead to Ruby Jewel Lake! 

“There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death” (Proverbs 16:25). 

You are well aware how our culture promotes the “way that seems right.” We label abortion “a simple and easy surgical procedure.” We tell our children, “Safe sex is possible and easy. Just wear a condom.” We call assisted suicide the “compassionate relief of suffering.” Our culture excels at pointing to the easy way out; and it really does appear easy. “But its end is the way to death.” 

Jamie Zane pointingSuch pervasive promotion of the easy way affects Christ’s people. They need to know about the sign. “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105). God’s Word of truth directs us to the right path. We know all too well that this path presents “fallen trees” and is not always easy. Jesus tells us plainly, “[T]he way is hard that leads to life” (Matthew 7:14). But He promises to be with us and provides us His “precious and very great promises” (2 Peter 1:4) as “signs” along the way assuring us we are on the right path and giving us courage to continue.

Jesus gives His Church the responsibility to point one another in the right direction, to share the truth with them and to do so in love (Ephesians 4:15). That is the primary responsibility of Lutherans For Life. We want Lutherans to clearly understand the truth about the God-given value of human life and the importance of upholding that truth. Like grandchildren Jamie and Zane here, we point the way to the truth about life. 

We also have a responsibility to rescue those who have taken the easy way and end up lost. We do this like Jesus the Good Shepherd did. We seek them out, go where they are, love them, help them, share Christ’s forgiveness with them, and do whatever is necessary to get them back on the path of life. After all, our Father wants all to be saved. He wants all to end up at “Ruby Jewel Lake”–eternal life with Him.