Leaf-cutter ant trail

What to do with that fork in the road

When you have two good choices, which one do you pick? When you come to a fork in the road and both look to be good roads for you, which one do you take? It’s an old question, one that people have struggle with for years in poems like The Road Not Taken by Frost. People write about it. They sing about. Everyone has choices, and we all have to make them. And then we spend much of lives looking back over our shoulder wondering if the path we took was the right one.

Leaf-cutter ant trail

Leaf-cutter ant trail - Tikal, Peten, Guatemala

Today’s verses are Psalm 25:4-5.

Show me the right path, O LORD; 
      point out the road for me to follow. 
Lead me by your truth and teach me,
      for you are the God who saves me.
      All day long I put my hope in you.

The choice of which path to take isn’t a new problem. People have been dealing with choices since Creation. And much of the story of Mankind is all about the choice to obey God or not. Eat the fruit or not. Leave your home and go where God tells you or not. Get in the boat or not. Sleep with a woman who isn’t your wife or not. You get the idea.

So when you come to a fork in the road, how do you know which way is the right way? According to this Psalm, you ask for directions.

I don’t like asking for directions, whether it be to find a restaurant or if it’s an item in the grocery store. I’d rather find it on my own. I’d rather use my own rationale and logic and make a few mistakes and walk a little farther or turn around a few times than appear incompetent and ask someone how to find it. And maybe that’s okay in the grocery store or while you’re navigating a city, but it’s not a very wise idea for navigating life.

If you choose to live life haphazardly, making uninformed decisions, making choices with no foundation of knowledge, you’re going to end up in trouble. You’re going to end up lost. And you’re going to take others down with you because life doesn’t happen in a vacuum.

I have gotten frustrated with God on many occasions because of where I found myself on the road of life. I had chosen to follow a road I thought looked good for me, but it didn’t take me where I thought it would. And, at best, it turned out to be nothing but a distraction. So was it right for me to be frustrated with God about a choice I made?

No. If I had looked ahead, if I had examined my motivation before I started down that path, I would have realized that I wasn’t choosing the path for God’s sake — I had taken it for my own.

So many times we choose roads to follow based on our own desires. What we want. Our dreams. Our goals. And we don’t ask God first. We just assume that He’ll be okay with it because we’re following our heart. That’s what He wants, isn’t it? He wants us to be happy, doesn’t He?

Above all else, God wants us to follow Him. He wants us to be holy, like He is. Not for His sake but for our own. And sometimes that means choosing a path that doesn’t feel right, even though it might look right to us. And the only way to tell the difference is to compare it to Scripture.

When you know a road will contradict the life and the purpose that God has designed for you, that is a road you shouldn’t take. If you choose a road because it looks easy, it will distract you. If you choose a road because it will give you fame and fortune and wealth and power and influence, it will leave you empty. If you choose a road simply because it’s what you want, you will give up before you reach the end.

But if you choose a road because it calls you to do something that God has said is right, you won’t be sorry. And that road will lead to another road. And that road will lead to another road, until one day you have left all the difficult little trails behind you and are booking along on a highway at top speed, wondering how God could have brought you so far.

If you need to know which road to take, ask for direction and compare your choice to what Scripture says is right. God will reveal the answer.

The Road Not Taken
Robert Frost (1874–1963).  Mountain Interval.  1920.

TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth; 

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same, 

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.  

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.