Saturday, November 13, 2021

I’ll Take the High Road, or Low Road?


Photo by Elfea 2009

I dreamed I was in an old tenement section of a city, trying to find my way home. I was making my way from building to building by traveling across the rooftops and at times from one window ledge to the next, even though my path was dangerously narrow. I was afraid I would fall to the concrete below, where broken glass, garbage, and jagged rocks cluttered the ground.

At one point my path across the window ledge and over the roof was blocked, and I realized I had no choice but to climb down before I could resume my journey. I crawled down the side of the wall by placing one foot after another on protruding bricks, made my way on the pavement to the next building, then scaled the wall so I could continue on the high road. It was exhausting, but I was relieved to be on the rooftop again where I felt safer.

Then the scene changed in the dream and I was in the mountains of Ireland, hiking with a group of friends from our church. We started out along the path leading up from the road toward the gentle slope of the hillside. In the distance we could see the craggy peaks of the summit, and my pace quickened, for I yearned to be up there to get a better view.

But then I heard a voice calling me from below and I realized that one of my friends, a young woman, had ventured out on an alternate path from the trail head. It appeared to lead to a short cut and to save time reaching the summit, but it was actually more treacherous because the level stretch led straight through a bog.

From past experience I know that getting your boots stuck in the mud of an Irish bog is a sensation that I imagine is like being in quicksand. On one occasion I actually had to leave a boot behind and hobble back to the path in one boot and one sock, because it was the only way to escape being pulled down further.

The last thing I wanted to do was to leave the exhilarating trail leading upward and to go back, risking getting stuck in the mud. But now my friend’s cries sounded desperate; the others had already disappeared around the bend; and I knew I had no choice. I hurried back down the path, grabbed a few stray branches to pave our way, and helped her out of the bog and back to the main road.

As I awoke, I thought about the parallels between the situations in the dream and detours in our Christian walk. Like other aspects of life, we never remain in the same place – either we are advancing and making progress, or we retrogress and get further away from our desired destination.

We long to find our way home, for we are just strangers in a foreign land (Hebrews 11:13; 1 Peter 2:11), and we long to reach the summit where we will see Christ face to face (1 Corinthians 13:12). One day we will, if we place our faith in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) as the only Way to Heaven (John 14:6).

When Christ returns for His children at the Rapture (1 Corinthians 15:51-57; 1 Thessalonians 3:13-18), we will instantly be transformed and receive our glorified bodies to be as He is. But until then, we undergo the gradual change of sanctification (1 Thessalonians 3:8-13; 4:1-12), becoming more conformed to His image through prayer, meditation on His Word, and even suffering (Philippians 3:10).

Sometimes what seems like a setback in our Christian walk may actually be a trial God allows into our life to increase our faith in and dependence on Him, to conform us into His image through suffering, and to give us compassion and experience to help others going through similar trials (Romans 8:28).

In the first part of the dream, when I was trying to get home, the path to my destination was narrow and challenging, as is the Way that leads to Heaven (Matthew 7:13-14). When my path across the high ground was blocked, I had to descend downward into danger, but only for a short time before He provided a way back up again.

Even when we are in a deep pit (Job 33:28-30; Psalm 30:3; Isaiah 38:17), or passing through the valley of the shadow of death (Psalm 23:4), we have no cause to fear, for He will never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). When obstacles in our path seem insurmountable, He will guide us to the mountain pass leading safely through them.

The second part of the dream was a reminder that God has made divine appointments for us since before the beginning of time (Ephesians 2:10; Romans 8:29-30), although we have the free will to accept or decline them.

In the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:29-37), the Pharisee and the Levite ignored the wounded Samaritan on the side of the road. But no doubt they felt justified in doing so, because to stop would have taken them away from what they thought was their higher calling – namely, fulfilling their religious duties and service. By not stopping they actually showed that their hearts were not with Jesus (Matthew 15:8), Who commanded that we love one another (John 13:34-35).

Yet Jesus said that the true neighbor in the parable was the Samaritan who tended to the dying man at great expense and sacrifice to himself, showing God’s selfless love (John 15:13) and putting His plan above his own personal agenda (Proverbs 3:5-6). May we listen when He calls us (John 10:27) to help others, even though at the time we may have different ideas of how we should be serving Him.
May we walk toward the heavenly places He has appointed for us by walking in love (Ephesians 5:2), in the light (1 John 1:7), and in the Spirit (Galatians 5:16,25) until He comes again!

© 2015 Laurie Collett
Reposted from the archives


Susan said...

Hi Laurie, I was talking with my husband this morning over breakfast how wonderful doing Bible word studies are and that one which I enjoyed had to do with path/feet/walk/shoes/way …it really brings out things the Lord says about our journey in this world. ❤️ I was having a lot of issues with blogger, but I have them fixed now…at least for a while. It’s great to be back 🙂❤️

Laurie Collett said...

Hi Susan,
Welcome back -- so glad to see you here commenting on this blog! It's amazing how God will speak to us in certain ways and then confirm His Word in a different context. Thanks so much for your comment and God bless!

Frank E. Blasi said...

Dear Laurie,
Your dream touched a cord here, as you may be already aware, hiking was one of my joys, especially before I married Alex.
Hiking the Grand Canyon is the opposite of mountain hiking - you start by going down and then climb back out afterwards.
But the more appropriate experience relating to your dream was the 1996 Dorset Coast hike from Swanage to Lulworth Cove.
The route climbed and then descended steep hills on a long section of the trail, and I found it very tiring. But when I arrived at my destination, the coastal views were absolutely stunning! Not to mention that the bed in the hostel was also a welcoming sight. Both, I guess, were a little like heaven!
Wishing you and Richard every God's blessings.

Laurie Collett said...

Dear Frank,
Thanks for sharing your hiking experiences -- highly appropriate for this post! If it were not for the valleys and steep climbs, the views from the summit might not seem as rewarding! We went on many arduous hikes in the Utah parks, well worth it for the spectacular views, and enjoyed the hot tub at the hotel afterwards! But what I found the most challenging, in terms of sightseeing, was touring Washington, DC, because we used the subway several times daily, always descending the very, very long flights of stairs! My shins felt it for weeks!
Thanks as always for your comment. May God richly bless you and Alex,

Brenda said...

Hi Laurie,
a lovely scriptural description of our walk with the Lord. As I began reading your post I had the same thoughts as you have given in your interpretation of the dream. Thank you for sharing this, as it is part of what we are called to do to one another, and is very encouraging. God bless you Laurie.

Laurie Collett said...

Hi Brenda,
Thank you for your confirmation regarding my interpretation of the dream. It is a blessing when God gives us opportunities to encourage one another. God bless you and your lovely ministry also!

Sateigdra knowles said...

Very beautiful and encouraging post, Laurie. God bless you.