Deceptively deep puddles
A few years ago my dad had a “landmark” birthday. And, because every big birthday in our family is commemorated with a surprise party, we threw one for my dad. With surprise parties being so common and all, they rarely actually end up being a surprise, except in this case because we threw it 3 months early. That worked.
The reason for the early party was that we wanted to have the shindig outside, and well, outside parties in December aren’t generally well attended. We found this farm out in the sticks and booked it for what turned out to be a gorgeous fall day. Friends and family gathered from near and far to celebrate.
Being a rustic farm setting, we were set up in a wooded area by a lovely pond and apple orchard. There were picnic tables and a cute little bridge that crossed what looked like to be a little marshy, puddle area. On one side of the bridge was seating and on the other the food.
Rather than cake we had a pie baking contest, and when it came time for the results many guests gathered round and waited for the outcome with bated breath. My sister wanted to get a little closer to the action, but because the bridge was a little backed up at the moment, she decided to just walk around. She had boots on and it didn’t look like much of anything, maybe a little damp but mostly grass.
However, her first step proved her judgment very wrong. The next thing she knew she was literally thigh high and sinking in muddy, cold water.
Thankfully, a friend was close by to give her a hand out, which was harder than it looked as she was quickly being suctioned into the mud beneath her feet. To her amazing credit, she took it like a champ. Dirty, soaking wet and cold, she was still smiling and laughing about the whole thing; blaming her mistake on the fact that in NJ (where she’s from) they only have concrete – how was she to know that little puddle was 3 feet deep!
I wrote yesterday about consistency in our walk with Christ, and the benefits that come from that. But I’ve also been thinking about the dangers of inconsistency. There are, without a doubt, amazing benefits to obedience and actively pursing God. But there are also dangers and consequences when we choose to go another way.
Our Christian walk has been compared with a narrow path. Sometimes that narrow path is free and clear before us, but other times it would seem as if the ground around the path is easier and even safer to trod.
The problem is that sometimes puddles can be deceptively deep.
As we glance off to the left and the right the meadows around the path look enticing. We say, “Don’t worry, I’m wearing boots! It won’t matter if I get a little wet.” But there’s really no way of knowing what is waiting for us off the path.
There are so many opportunities around us, some legitimate and others just pits of despair cleverly disguised as little puddles. God has given us the freedom to walk where we like. We can take the path or step off of it, this is our prerogative. And yes, we might find a path that suits, walk it for a while and catch up with God’s path in a mile or two no worse for the wear. That might work. But it also might not. The issue is that you just don’t know which you’ll get.
We’re all enticed off the path at some point or other. When we are, the hope is that we’ve surrounded ourselves with friends strong enough to help pull us out – and we’re grateful for that. But how much better if we covenant with ourselves to stick to the narrow path no matter what? Easy always? Of course not! But no covenant is.
The key to remember is this; while the meadows around us may look appealing, while the grass may look greener beyond that fence, while you may find sure footing for a while, you also may find that beneath the meadow is a cavernous bog with depths unknown and fate unsure.
Is it worth the risk?