“There is a way that seems right to a person, but its end is the way to death.” (CSB – Read the chapter)
What would you say if Captain America was British and female, Black Panther was an outer space Robinhood who reasoned Thanos out of destroying half the life in the universe, and the Avengers all got turned into super-powered zombies? I’d say you were reading a version of the comics different than the one most people have heard of. That would be correct. Marvel’s latest offering on Disney+ delves into a corner of the comics realm that is decidedly outside the norm and purposely so. Using a comic book line that first appeared in 1977, the latest Marvel series takes viewers on a beautifully animated journey into the question of “What if?” Now that the multiverse has been unleashed following the Loki series, each episode of What If? explores the universe that might have been created if a single event or decision by one of Marvel’s main characters had gone differently. This morning, I’d like to explore one of these with you.
“Let whoever is wise understand these things, and whoever is insightful recognize them. For the ways of the Lord are right, and the righteous walk in them, but the rebellious stumble in them.” (CSB – Read the chapter)
Have you ever tripped over nothing? You were just walking along a totally flat and smooth path and suddenly you were on the ground. I suspect that’s something we’ve all done at least once. For some folks it’s more like a daily affair. I had an old pair of shoes that were tripping hazards. Everywhere I went I tripped. Over nothing. For some reason the toes of those shoes were more attracted to the ground than any other pair I’ve ever owned. I actually adjusted my walking while I wore them to account for the tripping. I wasn’t sad when I wore them out sufficiently to justify getting a new pair.
“…for the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.” (ESV – Read the chapter)
One time on a retreat in the mountains I went for a hike. Now, I had been hiking before, but this was the first time I had done any real hiking. All of what I had done before had been short hikes on trails that were well-maintained and about as obvious to follow as a sidewalk would have been. And wouldn’t you know it, on my first experiment with the real thing, I got lost. Read the rest…
“Therefore, O King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision.” (ESV – Read the chapter)
Do you have a vision from God? Have you received one? How are you doing with this? God gives us a vision of the work He has for us to do as we seek Him in the routine, day-to-day of our lives. This vision will likely be a function of our passions, interests, abilities, and experiences. It will involve God placing us at the intersection of the world’s need and our passion. He will call us through this vision to the advancement of His kingdom. Read the rest…
“I know, O Lord, that the way of man is not in himself, that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps.” (ESV – Read the chapter)
The piece of advice which perhaps best captures the spirit of our age is this: Follow your heart. We are told over and over today to do this. We see it on kids’ shows of every kind. We see it in movies and in books and in magazines. We hear it in popular music. It is everywhere we look.
In most cases, it sounds like great advice too. If you aren’t sure about the path you need to take to get from where you are to where you want to go, just look inside and choose the route that best resonates with who you know you are. Follow your heart. After all, who knows the shape of your desires better than you do? Who is more suited to see them come to reality than you are?
Yet the tough truth is that this is awful advice. It’s terrible. It will lead us to nowhere but heartache and hardship. The Scriptures tell us why again and again. On our own, we don’t know the best way to go. There is a way that seems right to people, but it’s end is death. Or, as Jeremiah puts it here, the way of man is not in himself. It is not in us to direct our steps. If we try, we only set ourselves up for trouble.
Better is to trust in the ways of the Lord. Let Him be the one who guides your steps. Let His ways be the ones you follow most closely. Let His Word be the path to which you commit your feet. His way won’t always be the easiest, but it will always be the right way.
When Lisa and I lived in Colorado, we had the opportunity to drive to the top of Pike’s Peak several times. It was unfailingly a stunningly beautiful drive. But, the path to the top of the mountain was 19 miles of weaving back and forth, tight turns, and switchbacks. It took upwards of two hours to get to the top. When you looked at a map of the route it seemed crazy to weave all over the mountain in order to get there. Why not just drive straight to the top? Or, when coming down, why not just head off the side and roll? Because that path would have been impossible. It may have been shorter in theory, but in actuality the pitfalls and cliffs along the way would have wound up taking several times longer…if you were even able to navigate it.
If we take a path other than the path of God, if won’t get us where we want to go. If we look inside for our direction and drive, we will find only a stalled engine and an unreliable map. There are two paths you can take from here to there: God’s path or all the others. Take the one that will get you where you really want to go.