I awoke the other day while visiting my parents to find a cold, damp, foggy, calm morning: my favorite kind. And since my parents live in the country, I decided to garb up and take a walk.

Have you ever had an image that struck you so profoundly that you had to stop what you were doing to reflect on it? It’s said that a picture says 1000 words. I wonder if it might also be said that an image can sum up a life. Whether you think that’s true or not is not the point of this post. For me, standing in the middle of the road on a still winter morning I saw an image of my life: a road that’s leading somewhere, and yet is covered with mystery.

I’ve been following Christ since I was 6 years old. I knew that God was calling me to carry out the work of the ministry when I was 12 years old. My life has always seemed to have this focus, this direction, this heading, this…path. I’ve not been perfect throughout my life and have certainly looked off the road a time or two, but for the most part I’ve stayed true to the path that was fashioned for me.

My life has been a journey. My life has been a series of decisions that I often can’t see the end result until I get there. And yet I know that my God has set me on this path, and therefore I continue to walk, I continue to believe, I continue to trust, I continue to persevere. I’m reminded that the “righteous shall live by faith and not by sight.” I’m reminded that I’ve been called to live my life and not someone elses life. I’m reminded that this is my path that has been placed before me.

As I walked down this road further into the country I came to a wonderfully releasing truth: my path will not be compared to another person’s path.

I was reflecting on what has happened in our lives since we moved to Denton. The difficulties we’ve faced in so many areas. And I began to beat myself up because I remind myself that there are others around this world that are facing far greater difficulties in their pursuit of God and the building of His kingdom, even to the point of death. And then this thought hit me that my life will not be compared to theirs. The only thing that we will be judged evening upon at the end of our journeys will be whether or not we were obedient to the will of God for each of our lives. One person may need to be obedient and endure hardship and persecution, another may not ever face persecution but rather must endure a greater responsibility to stewardship of wealth – something the other individual may never have to face. Each individual path is different, just as each personality, each person in this world, is different.

It is my responsibility to live obediently and to walk worthy of the lot that has been cast to me. My life will not look like others because of a difference in culture, time, language, geography, etc. It is my responsibility to live obediently in the context of the culture in which I find myself in. All that God asks of me is that I am obedient to His will.

I’m reminded of the faithful in Hebrews 11. The writer speaks of people with great faith! Abraham, Noah, Moses, etc. And then goes on by saying (and I’m paraphrasing) “I don’t have time to talk about others! David, Sampson, Jephthah – who routed foreign armies, put away the sword, women received back their dead, they quenched the flames, etc, etc!” And then without missing a beat the author says, “…but some of them were tortured…some were sawed in two…some of them went out in sheep-skins and goat-skins…some lived in holes in the ground. The world was not worthy of them.”

What I find interesting is that the author makes no attempt to say which life is better, more respected, more glorious, or more rewarding in the eyes of God. What I find interesting is that whether people raised others from the dead or were sawed in two…the author says they all had great faith! What I take away from these passages is that it’s not for you or I to decided whether we route foreign armies or whether we are destroyed by them, but what falls to you and I to decide is whether or not we will be obedient! Neither life is said to be greater. Neither life seems to be compared with the other. For some, their lot was to destroy foreign armies and raise the dead, for others, their lot was be tortured and sawed in two. Either way, the world was not worthy of them. Why? Because they were obedient no matter what came into view on their path. No matter what came out of the fog, they faced it, they passed through it, and they arrived at their destination.

So though I cannot see tomorrow. Though I don’t know what joys or what sufferings lie ahead of me in the mists of the future, I trust that whatever comes across my path, that my God will provide the grace and the strength to both endure as well as to pass through. My journey in life can be seen through this picture…what can yours be seen by?