by Marty Rind
Robert Frost was an American poet, perhaps most famous for his poem “The Road Not Taken.” In this poem, the writer is stranded in a forest at a fork in the road. One of the paths is clear and easy. The other, not so much. He was forced, then, to choose. I think a lot of people would choose the easy way. There’s not so much resistance and one can travel easily down the path. However, Frost ends his poem with “I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.”
Our lives are filled with choices. What will we eat for breakfast? What will we wear? What will we do? Do I really need a shower today? What career will we pursue? The list goes on. Some choices are harder than others. I often wonder, as I am sure you do, what would have happened if I didn’t make this choice or that choice, or if I pursued that instead of this. I sometimes find myself feeling like the traveler in Frost’s poem, not knowing which way to go, but having to choose. Some would argue that this gets harder when you become a Christian. It’s not just you that you are taking into account, but also God. What I mean by that is not that God is somehow affected by the choices that we make. He is independent of time and space, not to mention matter. What I do mean, however, is that when we make a decision, we should seek God’s will as well as our own. I will admit that I have often failed at doing that, especially when it came to college and my career. Let me tell you about it.
I graduated high school in 2012, absolutely, positively knowing that I was going to become a high school calculus teacher one day. Obviously, that did not happen. What I failed to do in my high school days was to pray about my future. I thought that I had my future all figured out. I was going to make it happen. I spent two years pursuing a math education degree at a community college, taking all sorts of math classes such as Calculus 1, 2, and 3 (Yes there are 3 of them), Discrete Mathematics, and Linear Algebra. I then transferred to Illinois State University, “knowing” that I was doing what God called me to do. I was there for one semester before I finally figured out I wasn’t doing what God had designed me to do so I dropped out of college.
The next six months were some of the strangest months of my life. My plan had failed. I needed a new plan, or more specifically, I needed to figure out what God’s plan was. In doing this, I discovered that ministry was the right path. After all, I had spent the last two years as a small group leader at my home church while I was at community college. I was a staple at church activities every week. Church wasn’t an option to me. It was a must. During this time, I discovered Lincoln Christian University, just 40 minutes away from where I was living at the time. I applied, got accepted, and got registered all within just a few months and the rest is history.
When making decisions, even big decisions, it is easy to leave God out of the equation. It’s easy to think that we are self-sufficient to live this life how we find it best. I have fallen into that trap more than just once. Lucky for us, God isn’t there waiting for us to mess up to point it in our faces. He is there, ready to forgive and help us live the life that He calls us to, one of love, grace, and purity. That is often the road not taken that Frost tells us about. Jesus also calls it the narrow way in Matthew 7:13-14. This is the road that God always calls us to. There will no doubt be bumps and zig-zags along the way. Things won’t always be easy, but Jesus didn’t say it would be. Instead, he called us to each day to choose to take up our cross, or in other words, die to ourselves and our desires and seek first the kingdom of God.