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The Winding Paths


Life can lead us down some long and winding paths. The paths we choose can either lead us to somewhere new, around in a circle or towards a dead end. As we try to navigate which path to take, we find that some are broad, well-worn paths that have been taken by many other travellers while other paths are narrow, steep and untouched. In Psalm 139:23-24 it talks about two paths. There is the ‘Any Path’ and ‘The Path’. One leads to pain while the other leads to God.


‘God, I invite your searching gaze into my heart.

Examine me through and through.

Find out everything that may be hidden within me.

Put me to the test and sift through all my anxious cares.

See if there is any path of pain I’m walking on,

And lead me back to your glorious, everlasting ways-

The path that brings me back to you.’ Psalm 139:23-24 {TPT}


We assume that no one would want to take the Any Path because it only leads to pain. However, during my teenage years, I fooled my God-fearing parents and faked the “good church girl” routine while secretly choosing the Any Path of under-age drinking, that was littered with selfish pride and rebellion. However, even though it brings so much pain, we still embark along the treacherous way of the Any Path, hoping to find Someone at the end of it. Time and time again we find ourselves walking down this path, believing it will lead us to back to God. But that’s not what the Bible says in John 14:6 because Jesus is quite clear that He is The Way and there is no other. And when we’ve had enough of trudging down dead ends and detours, we realise that we’ve gone off track and lost The Way somewhere in the process of choosing the Any Path.


The key to the right path is all in the invitation. We need to invite God’s searching gaze into our brokenness and let Him examine us through and through. We need to let Him find the things we have kept hidden from Him and allow Him to sift through our anxious cares. Pride and stubbornness will only keep us travelling in the wrong direction on the Any Path, a journey that is only filled with heartache and pain. I know, you don’t want to let Him search you and examine you like a specimen on a laboratory table. You believe that all that poking, and prodding will inflict more pain on you than if you’d never had invited Him into your heart in the first place and He would do well to have just left you well alone.


However, Jesus, The Way, follows behind you. He waits until you are ready to invite Him into your brokenness and wrong choices. In His kindness, He points to The Path that will lead you back to Him. But we hesitate to take His hand. We think it’s too late because we know that we’ve been travelling on the Any Path for far too long now and the pain of leaving the Any Path will be far greater than if we had just stayed on it. But if you look carefully, there is a promise in verse 5 of Psalm 139. The psalmist, David, gives hope to the weary traveller whose feet are sore from heading down the many winding ways of the Any Path. In God’s kindness He promises that if you let Him, He will spare you from the harm that the Any Path has inflicted upon you and lead you back with His hand of love into His glorious and everlasting ways.


‘…in kindness you follow behind me, to spare me from the harm of my past.

With your hand of love upon my life, you impart a blessing to me.’ Psalm 139:5


What a promise! Not only will God spare us from the harm of our past, He will also impart a blessing to us. But we have to ask Him. We have to invite Him in to search, examine, find out and sift all the anxious cares of our wayward hearts. We need to say to Him, “See if there is Any Path of pain I’m walking on and lead me to The Path that brings me back to You.”


Step away from the winding paths of the Any Path. They may seem as though they lead to somewhere exciting. They don’t. Take it from me, they don’t. The Any Path only leads to sorrow and pain. The Path that leads to God’s glorious and everlasting ways is where you need to be. Yes, it will be narrow, steep and difficult and there may be a few twists and turns along The Path because it isn’t well-worn and broad like the easy road of the Any Path. However, it will be worth it because it doesn’t lead to pain but God’s glorious and everlasting ways.


So, how do you know where The Path starts? What do you look for to get onto The Path? You look for a narrow doorway. Not one that is wide, bejewelled and decorated with splendour, but a doorway that is plain, unassuming and narrow. Many travellers walk right past this doorway and miss it completely because of its unappealing state. But don’t be fooled by its appearance because this unattractive doorway will lead you right onto The Path that will show you The Way to God’s glorious and everlasting ways.


'See if there is any path of pain I’m walking on, and lead me back to your glorious, everlasting ways - the path that brings me back to you.’

PSALM 139:24 (TPT)


Wendy Parker is a writer, blogger and speaker and is a member of the Australasian Christian Writers, Christian Writers Downunder, and Omega Writers. She is currently studying a Bachelor of Theology with Alphacrucis College, and through her popular blogs, podcasts, and YouTube channel, Wendy shares her stories about the struggles of the Christian life through humour and deep insights. She lives in Wollongong, NSW with her husband, two adult children, and one spoilt chocolate Labrador named, Rose. You can find Wendy through her website, www.thebigvoiceonline.com, The Spacious Room podcast, and BIG VOICE with Wendy Parker YouTube Channel.


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