On my recent vacation I found myself on a mini-silent retreat on a rocky beach line. When on silent retreats I usually go off on adventures with God and explore as much as I can of His beauty in creation. I had a destination in mind. I wanted to walk as far along the coast.
The day they left I set out on my own journey. It was treacherous at spots and I was the only one venturing on such a quest. Half way through the journey my shoe tore so I was determined to accomplish the goal that day while I was still able to wear it. I had to be so careful that I kept my eyes on the ground almost the whole time. I was doing a lot of praying, but my prayers were for safety and prevention from a broken leg or twisted ankle. I felt the angels all around as I prayed Psalm 121 the whole way there. Mission accomplished, I felt proud of myself and felt I was getting some good exercise as well.
On the way back, which always feels longer, I looked up more often to take in the beauty of my new surroundings. I thought about how hard it is to walk with God, as exemplified by the journey through the boulders but that God keeps inviting me to walk with Him even when it is hard. I realized that I was only focusing on how hard it was and not taking the time to look up and see what was all around me. I wasn’t looking at the rich colors of the rocks contrasted by the turquoise sea that blended beautifully into the baby blue skyline. God invited me not only to focus on the hardness of my adventure but also to delight in the joy and the treasures all around me.
Knowing God is hard. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. It takes strict discipline to let go of our own ways, our selfish desires, everything that pulls us away from God. It’s hard, but it’s more beautiful than anything we can imagine.
The next day, I went on an adventure and asked God to lead the way. I didn’t have a destination in mind, thinking that I had accomplished what I had set out to do. On this day, I was led to amazing surprises. He first showed me the ruins of a Monastery that I could visit. Then He showed me a path down to the beach only closer to the border for which I was looking. I couldn’t believe how easy it was to reach the same destination.
The path to God is hard, but it’s a lot easier when we listen to God. Jesus said it so clearly in Matthew 11:28-30,
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
What path are you taking to your destination of oneness with God? Take it from me, God’s path is best, and you don’t ruin your shoes along the way.