|Path to salvation need not be filled with detours|
|Written by BILL RYAN Sentinel Religion Editor|
|Friday, 08 June 2012 09:01|
"You can't get there from here."
It sounds like a punch line from a joke, and it often is. Many contend its origins are from an expression to illustrate the difficulty of travel around numerous lakes in Maine. The line also expresses the frustration of some people on their faith journey.
Each person follows their own path to enlightenment as they walk on their personal sojourn of faith.
Getting to Toledo from Bowling Green is not that difficult, but there are countless ways to accomplish the task. Two of the more direct routes are Ohio 25 and Interstate 75. However, one could travel to Cincinnati, then to Columbus and Portsmouth, followed by Pittsburgh, to Erie, Pa., and on to Cleveland, Sandusky and then Toledo.
The path to heaven and salvation is not as clearly delineated on a map, but for many people it is just as easy and clear as a direct route; yet most of us take plenty of detours and side trips on our route.
Some people contend we should not waste our God-given energies on meandering from place to place, we should just stay focused on the goal and stay on the straight and narrow path. It is hard to argue the point.
However, it is similarly hard to argue for exploring all of God's creation around. By taking a scenic route, one can examine details and look at the beauty in the diversity in God's creations. The important concept is having the proper final destination in mind and follow a spiritual path to reach that goal.
Some people believe when we stray from the "straight and narrow path" we are sinning against God's wishes. Yet others believe we are gaining knowledge which God wants us to have to assist in benefitting a cause or another human being somewhere down God's path for our lives.
Life's experiences prepare us for future situations. The wisdom we acquire benefits us in making sound judgements, choosing proper alternatives and being a shining example, a light and source for others to follow.
We can learn a lot through education at all levels of school, but ask most senior citizens and they will tell you the best learning is done through the "school of hard knocks."
A similar common expression is "Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me."
It all points to the obstacles God puts in our paths.
"That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ," (1 Peter 1:7)
Gold and our faith, are both tested in fire. For most of us our faith is more precious than gold, yet we rightly shy away from the fire.
We don't like to hear it, but it is often true that our trials and tribulations in life strengthen us. God gives us energy and power to carry forward through adversities. Those who have experienced some of the worst human circumstances are often the most powerful because of the strength developed in their triumphs over tragedy. Their being tested in the fires of life have strengthened their resolve, their perseverance, and thus, their ability to lead and help others through troubles.
It's those detours on our faith journey which enrich our lives, enhance our beliefs and strengthen us to carry on toward our goal.
The important thing to remember is no matter where one is in life or on their faith journey, God will always welcome us back. There is always a way.
It may take a lot of our energy and effort on our part. But strengthened by God, and with enough determination, we can get to salvation from wherever we are in life. We just have to focus on that goal, and spend our energies wisely in pursuit of God's love.
Many people balk at the expression that "God never gives anyone more than they can handle."
Immersed in the depth of challenges, we may consider God has piled it on beyond our capability.
As a popular bumper sticker reads, "If God is your co-pilot, change seats."
For followers, it is not as hard as we make it. It's a matter of opening one's heart and letting God in. Thus, we connect by living life with God's energy within us and God in control.
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