April 26, 2010

The Pathway Principle

“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” Psalm 119:105 (NASB)

I spent Saturday morning at a Bible study leadership conference. I was very excited to go but secretly hoped I would choose classes that weren’t boring and weren’t repeats of the same old thing, blah, blah, blah. Be careful what you wish for!

While I treasure the traditional in many things, I also like to be part of those wild and wonderful out of the box moments. Little did I know how out of the box this Saturday would turn out to be!

I sat in three classes led by Jeff Dixon, the Senior Pastor of Covenant Community Church in Sanford Florida. I wish more than anything each of you could have been there. I simply do not have time to tell you everything that I learned and all the wonderful things God used to refresh my spirit!

However, I am sure I have time to tell you one thing that made an impression on me. It centers on the subject of path. Pastor Dixon talked about something he called the Pathway Principle. We read Scripture on paths. Obviously we are each on a path. A path to where? Well, only you know that.

The Pathway Principle talks about direction and destination. It eliminates all intentions, good or otherwise, from the equation because good intentions aren’t any good unless you put some active direction to them so you can arrive at a desired destination. Who knew!

He also told us that we are all on a path at any given time in our lives. The path is governed by our choices. So whatever path you are on today, is because you choose to be there. Good, bad, right or wrong. Would you guys like to meet me at Starbucks for a group session on this?

I guess I need to rein myself in a bit. Let me begin that process by asking you what your path looks like today? Is it wide open? If so, are you running toward your destination? Or is it cluttered with distractions and obstacles? What are you doing to clear those away so you can quicken your pace? Perhaps you can’t see your path. Could it be that you are experiencing circumstances that blot out the light and you are simply uncertain about your next step? If so, I have got a good word for you.

Let me illustrate by relaying a true event as told to us by Jeff Dixon. Does the name Nadia Bloom mean anything to you? If you’ve been watching the news in Florida, it should. Nadia is a young autistic girl who recently wandered away from home and found herself lost in alligator infested waters for 4 nights. Nadia and her family attend Pastor Dixon’s church.

Based on the conversation in class with others - who knew the area this child was lost in, alligator infested was an understatement. Pastor Dixon recounted the first night’s search where he joined the sheriff and Nadia’s father. They walked through swampy wetlands with a bull horn calling out to Nadia who didn’t respond. He talked about the darkness that night. It was a darkness that completely incapacitated their vision. Nothing was visible as they attempted to walk on a small path searching desperately for the lost child.

In fact, the light held by the sheriff’s officer was the only one they had and it only gave enough light for them to take one step at a time. Pastor Dixon quipped that as the night grew longer, the closer he began to stand next to the one who held the light. We laughed but what a truth lingered in that statement!

Now re-read Psalm 119:105. God’s word is that lamp that lights our path. Some days, we can see the path clearly and run in the direction God has lit with wild abandon. Other days, we can only see the spot we stand on and have no idea which direction to place our next step. When that happens, how close are we to the One with the light?

Nadia’s story had a happy ending. Miracle number one: she was found alive Miracle number two: remember those alligator infested waters? She didn’t see a single one! I kind of like to think God sent Daniel to keep an eye on her during her ordeal. I am sure he told her about his time in the lions den to pass the time.

Friends, we are all on a path. God never said it would easy or uncluttered. But He did promise if we leaned on Him, he’d make the path straight and light the way! To where? Why to Him, of course!

Love,
Barbara

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