Life is a journey of finding our meaning, finding our purpose, and stepping forward into the place we believe we are called to live. For years, I have had a vision of a cobblestone path when I meditate or pray. There are times the path is dark, other times the stones are bright. It has been surrounded by flowers; at times it is just grass and even unplanted fields. During really special times of prayer, I often have an overwhelming sense of the Lord guiding me on the path and it always appears more inviting then!
Every pilgrimage toward meaning and purpose begins with a first step and a base upon which we gingerly lay stones of uncertainty. The stones we lay are different; each telling a story of the unique steps taken. Some have been forcefully thrown on my path without care for the impact. Those are the ones that cause me to trip and fall off the path. The ones that make me unsteady in my journey. They are the ones that also compelled me to cry out to God. Help me! Change me! Don’t leave me here.
No stone is wasted. Each builds on the other to create a haphazard structure. This chaotic process drives us to seek a more strategic pattern to the trail of life. We rest along the way to ponder how best to line up the next rows of stones on our journey. We look for help. And then, we begin to see the design in the pathway. No longer our design. We tweak the placement of rocks ever so slightly, as if to test the decision we have made. We want to trust a higher power, and yet we have jumped the path so many times, we aren’t sure we can make the change. And we can’t, on our own.
That new pattern for me is shaped by a desire to move closer to God on the walk. I feel a stronger support under my feet, as if I have found the right cement to hold the rocks in place. The more defined the stone, the more I begin to capture glimpses of the vision for my life. I trust the process and begin to believe that the steps ahead will be good- a good part of God’s plan. As the stones grow in size, I see the change from a bumpy irregular road to a smoother uniform course to follow. I am not walking alone. God is there, and so are the friends of Jesus I have come to let into my life.
The path has alway had one purpose, one destination, and one foundation. We placed the stones of our story on that foundation, even if we didn’t know what held it together at the time. All the pieces. All the sharp edges. All the rough edges smoothed now from our repeated attempts to survive, until we finally let God move us forward.
We begin to see the beauty of the journey. We realize that those dark stones that tripped us up, have a purpose today. We allow the light to shine in those dark places. We allow the light to surround the dark stones. They no longer trip us up like we let them before.
As the light rises to the top, we see God overtake the damaged stones of our lives. He transforms and reimagines the rocky path we laid into one he will use to help us. He shows us how we can help others on their path too. There is hope, for us and for others.
The scene changes as we envision a new fuller life, walking with Jesus, under the influence of the Holy Spirit, seeking God’s plan. Truth is, he was always walking with us. Now we see. We open our eyes to take it all in as our hearts are transformed. We can see the pathway always had a long-term purpose. More hope, more faith. More life.
God is creating a new thing in and around us—and we can finally see it. The promise of something bigger than ourselves becomes clear with each step toward the light of gifting and purpose. We witness the garden spring forward around our path and we hear his call to care for the garden, shepard the sheep, or simply to serve in his name. Hope and delight. Faith and trust. Freedom to believe and live a new life.
The joy and delight is real. There is more to be filled in, which we can’t yet see. We look around and know that we can trust what we don’t yet know. There are more visions to come. More relationships to build. More stories to share. God isn’t done, our love for him grows.
The clarity of vision will come. In God’s time, he will reveal the plan with each step toward the light. He will provide his servants to help us see. That which seemed impossible will become possible. The good is coming.
The promise is the same:
Abide in me and I will abide in you.
We see the trees planted around us grow as we become more deeply rooted in God’s Word. We come to understand that we will bear new fruit, as long as we stay connected to that foundation of truth. The sprouts will break through and new flowers of purpose will spring from them.
We will hold fast to the pathway laid before us. We will plant roots in the lives of others and watch them grow with joy in our hearts.
We will focus our eyes on Jesus as he brings new joy and says: “Follow me.” And we will!
Our path is as long as God designs. The stones we lay to move forward are set by a Heavenly Father. We can see a light ahead. The choice is still ours- let him transform us, let him lead us, let him guide us. We no longer need to lay uneven stones set to unravel our lives. We now have the choice to let him lay the next stone on which we will step and to move as slowly or as quickly as HE lays the stones. He becomes the mason of our lives, the shepherd whose hook reaches out and sets us back on the path, and we learn to do the same for others, in his name.
The pathway on which we walk is his!
What will your pathway look like? What stones on your life path need reshaping? Are you willing to let someone help you to lay new strong even stones for your future? I pray you will seek a lay counselor, a prayer minister, or a spiritual director to help you hear his love and desire for you.
May God bless and keep you on your path of life.