The Broad Path Or The Narrow Path
We took the last step up and there it was! One of my favorite places to hike is Springer Mountain with an elevation of 3,780 feet. The trip there is a bit challenging in itself. We drive for 45 minutes on paved roads to the entrance of the forestry area. The road changes to an unpaved, narrow, one lane road winding up, down and around the mountain for six more miles. It’s a bumpy ride and our vehicle becomes coated with road dust, but the reward at the end is worth every effort. After parking the car in a small parking lot, across the road from the trail, we begin the upward climb on a narrow rocky path.
The path is on the edge of the mountain and filled with twists and turns. It has many beautiful rock formations jutting out of the mountainside. The plants that thrive there are mostly mountain laurel and rhododendron which line the trail. Many varieties of oak and pine trees grow throughout the forest with some sourwood and chestnut salted in.
The ascent rises one mile to the top of the mountain. The summit opens up to a small clearing with large boulders that form a table top you can sit or stand on. During the spring and summer months the trees are full of leaves and one has no idea what to expect until they crest the last hill. Standing on those boulders you have an incredible view of multiple mountain ranges layered one after the other. The panoramic view extends a distance of 50-75 miles. The blue haze over the mountains and the cool thin air send a chill up the spine of even the most experienced hiker. There is a bronze plaque at the edge if the mountain top with an inscription explaining the mount point is the beginning of the Appalachian Trail on the south end. The Appalachian Trail is a 2,200 mile trek from north Georgia to Maine. It takes approximately 6 months to hike and hikers can begin at either end of the trail.
One of the boulders at the top has a cranny which contains a notebook with a pencil tied to it and a metal box. The box has supplies for any hikers on the trail to use what they need. Because the mountain is either the beginning or the end destination, those finishing their hike leave unused supplies for the others who journey through. The book was for the purpose of recording their name, home state and sharing experiences the trail had provided them. Everyone that reaches the top sits and basks at the incredible view from the mountain. It’s the perfect spot to take selfies with the panorama of hazy blue mountain ranges behind. It was exhilarating and fulfilling to reach our goal. The narrow path we climbed yielded us a grand reward.
Jesus taught his disciples about the narrow and the broad paths. He noted that the broad path led to destruction and the narrow path led to life. He also told them that the majority of people would take the broad path and few would take the narrow one. It is the broad path that is the easier one to navigate.
“Enter by the narrow gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life and there are few who find it.” Matthew 7:13-14 NKJ.
The wide path has many distractions and offers many off-road excursions which wind up being dead-ends. It is most often the more appealing path and it entices one to linger in cozy venues that delay or completely derail their progress. Comfort is alluring and the wide road veils the treacherous pitfalls that patiently wait for distracted worldly travelers.
The narrow path is steep and uncomfortable at times, as it winds through rocks and craggy passageways filled with obstructions that slow down one’s progress. It is the more challenging pathway but the rewards it provides the faithful are unprecedented.
Those who travel the wide road have no navigational system that guides them to their destination. They wing it by taking stops when they feel the need and stay as long as they are content. They feel secure by the fact that many are travelling with them. Feeling safety in numbers, they assume their destination will be worth the effort. Unfortunately, all who remain on the broad path become lost and their end is one of utter destruction.
“Wasting and destruction are in their paths, The way of peace they have not known. And there is no justice in their ways; They have made themselves crooked paths; Whoever takes that way shall know no peace. Therefore justice is far from us, Nor does righteousness overtake us; We look for light, but there is darkness! For brightness, but we walk in blackness! We grope for the wall like the blind, And we grope as if we had no eyes; We stumble at noonday as at twilight; We are as dead men in desolate places.” Isaiah 59:7c-10.
Conversely, those taking the narrow route have divine intervention. The Bible says the Word of God is a light that shines on their path and it is a lamp which guides their feet to safety. Psalm 119:105. It exposes the pitfalls along the path and gives secure footing to all who travel that way. The Bible also offers Wisdom in all areas of life for those who choose to trust in its direction and heed its warnings.
“Show me Your ways, O LORD; Teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You are the God of my salvation; on You I wait all the day.” Psalm 25:4-5.
Abundant provision is supplied for all on the narrow path and help is available to those who stumble and fall. Assurance encourages the weary travelers and peace accompanies them wherever they go. Although the path is more difficult than the wider one, there are many resources available to those who need assistance. The Spirit of God not only lends guidance to its travelers, it intercedes on their behalf, guaranteeing them of success.
“He restores my soul, He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23:3-4.
Speaking of Wisdom (from God) the Bible states, “Her ways are ways of pleasantness, And all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her, and happy are all who retain her.” Proverbs 3:17-18.
This analogy of two paths reveals the difference between the two kingdoms: the kingdom of the world (Satan, darkness) and the Kingdom of Life (Heaven, God, Light). We will all have the opportunity to choose which kingdom in which we desire to dwell. One clearly leads to eternal destruction and the other eternal Life. Our time on earth is served for one purpose only, to discover God and to seek Him with all our hearts. When we do, the narrow path is the one upon which we will walk and at the end, it will open wide to a glorious eternal Kingdom, the Kingdom of Life!
In the book of Deuteronomy the Lord God presented His people with the choice; “See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil, in that I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments, His statutes, and His judgments, that you may live and multiply; and the LORD your God will bless you in the land which you go to possess…I call heaven and earth as a witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live.” Deuteronomy 30:15-19. The kingdom of darkness or the Kingdom of Life?