I am on a spiritual journey, but I feel that everyone else is on a completely different path. At times, the loneliness inside me is so unbearable that I want to drop my cross and surrender.
As a runner, I have seen that the road to finish line is not always smooth, even, asphalted, or cushioned for the comfort of your running. Somewhere along the course, the road may change into a long stretch of rough, depressed, muddy, uphill, and downhill surface. Even the atmosphere can sometimes be adverse and unfavorable to your goal to set a good finishing time.
For a determined runner, these imperfect road conditions should not cause discouragement; they are nothing but exciting challenges that strengthen the physical parts of the body involved and render the mind tough and strong.
When we run a spiritual journey, the road may also manifest the attributes I have mentioned above. It is not easy to continue moving forward because obstacles are in the way, and they tend be bigger than our goals if we lack the will and energy to sustain the race.
When we choose to live a life that is different from the pattern of the majority, the road can be very lonely. We may find people who, instead of cheering for us, will condemn and forsake us. We will encounter unexpected problems that prompt us to question our faith. Trials after trials seem long and endless. Pain is inevitable and almost unbearable. Sights around us turn into enticing temptations. Everyday is a difficult test of patience. Life becomes an exhausting race, a chaotic battlefield.
However, the Lord has not put us in the dark, fumbling for the light that can brighten up our way; neither did He left us in the unknown, guessing for the course He has charted for us. In reading the Bible, I have rediscovered the Lord’s promises to those who carry on with their journey however rough and lonely the road may be.
“You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.” ― Matthew 10:22 NIV
Psalm 23 provides a spiritual compass that points every believer to the path that the Lord wants us to follow. In six verses and 122 words, the Lord reveals the blessings and good things He alone is capable of doing in our lives.
1The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
2He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters.
3He restores my soul. He guides me in the path of righteousness for His name’s sake.
4Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
5You prepare a table for me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
6Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
From the perspective of the prodigal son who lost himself in the many battles of life (including love), but eventually found himself in the love of the Lord, this is how I understand the Lord’s message in Psalm 23.
We will note from the first verse that the Lord is all that we need. The Lord wants us to accept and claim that He alone is our trusted shepherd, our reliable tour guide, and our able leader who will never leave our sides as we run across the lonely roads of life. On the last verse are the rewards that shall be accorded to us if we remain faithful to Him. These are the two kinds of life that are both filled with goodness and love ― the blessed life on earth and the eternal life with Him in heaven.
Verses two to six reveal the Lord’s caring nature for His flock. He enables and equips us with the resources and everything that we need in order for us to surpass the challenges that we may encounter as we journey with Him.
He will bless our food and water; He will not allow us to go hungry and thirsty. He will help us enrich our wealth; He will not let us live in poverty. If we feel that we are not receiving the provisions of the Lord, we have to re-examine our relationship with Him. Perhaps, we forget how to value what He has entrusted to us. Maybe, we do not learn how to be content with what we have and this question deserves an answer: “Am I asking for more than what I need?”
Has your soul been shattered by a frustrated dream, a sickening heartbreak, or a paralyzing ailment? The Lord restores our soul; He makes us whole and stronger. He is able to bring back what we have lost. The secret is to surrender to Him, not just plain surrender, but absolute surrender. The restoring power of the Lord is also well expressed in Psalm 34:18 (NIV): “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
The path of righteousness is the only path that the Lord wants us to traverse. I must admit that it is never easy to be and stay there and I have always been struggling. But the Lord’s wisdom is here to be our lasting light. Let this be our guide as we choose the right direction when our road diverge into crossroads, when we make critical choices, when we form life-changing decisions.
The fear of the Lord gives us the feeling that we are invincible, that nobody can be against us. If the Lord is with us, we will be able to bravely face the circumstances in our lives. The Lord who comforted the hungry, thirsty, and despairing Israelites in the desert after the exodus is the same Lord, who promised to secure us with His rod and staff, so that we can overcome our enemies. The Lord will fight for us; we need only to trust and keep our faith with Him.
Indeed, the Lord’s calling always comes with an empowerment so that when we stand face-to-face with Him behind the finish line, each of us can say with unshaken confidence that:
“I have fought the good fight; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith.” ― 2 Timothy 4:7 NIV Tweet
Are you feeling lonely in the road that you are traveling in your life right now? Hold on to your faith, trust Him, and never quit your journey with Him. Success comes to those who faithfully keep the Lord in their lives, like David.
“In everything he did, he had great success because the Lord was with Him.” ― 1 Samuel 18:14 NIV.
God bless us all!