The Narrow Way

19 April 2018

 “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road is easy that leads to destruction, and there are many who take it. For the gate is narrow and the road is hard that leads to life, and there are few who find it.”  The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Mt 7:13–14). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

While thinning undergrowth along our northern property line I realized that Mark and I had inadvertently uncovered a path. It’s a perfect little trail created by deer leading to the stream we affectionately named Anam Cara Creek that winds along the back ridge on our property before emptying into the much larger Eagle Creek. Narrow paths aren’t always the easiest paths, but the deer figured out that this path was the preferred way to reach their destination: water.

When we lived in Michigan, I use to define our roads as offering “plenty of grace.” There are usually wide berms where vehicles that experience flat tires or other maintenance issues can safely pull out of traffic. It gives law enforcement officers plenty of space to pull over drivers who are guilty of traffic violations. During winter weather, these berms on both sides of the road offer space for road crews to push excess snow. The wide berms make the roads easy to travel despite car malfunctions and poor weather circumstances. 

Now, however, we live in north central Kentucky. And berms, they don’t exist. The winding roads with snake-like turns follow narrow ridge lines, most likely what were once wildlife trails like the one along our northern property line. There is no “grace” along the sides of the road for the car with a flat tire or when bad weather hits. The traveler must stay on the narrow road despite the hazards on either side: deep ravines, woodlands, and steep, rock-faced hillsides. 

I love our Michigan roads. Berms serve an important safety feature. Our Kentucky roads, however, give a more accurate representation of the path we follow as citizens of the kingdom of God, except that with God, grace is always available. When we give broad allowances on our journey through life we leave too much room for error; too much space for straying away from the center line. There’s a temptation to use the broader roadway to reinterpret the direction of the path. There’s plenty of room to sway way to the right or just as far to the left.

On a narrow road, crossing the center line is risking a head on collision. The narrow way doesn’t mean the easy way, but as Jesus is recorded in the book accredited to Matthew, the narrow way is the only way that leads to life. Stay tuned in the weeks ahead as we explore this “hard” and “narrow” way and discern together where it leads those who long to follow Jesus.

JUDITH STALLONS