Fear or Faith
We are all well acquainted with Robert Frost’s poem “The Road Not Taken.” We all realize that the fork in the road signifies choice and that the narrator “took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” Allow me to use Frost’s poem to work out a choice we all must make again and again. What if one path represents living life based on faith in God and the other represents living in fear of anything and everything. I have most often chosen fear’s path. This path allows me to hide. I can hide from my emotions, from love, from forgiveness, from self discovery, from friendship, from commitment, from change, from life, and even from myself. I can hide from whatever it is I fear. The longer I follow fear’s path the greater my fears grow, the more power they hold over me, sending me fleeing faster down fear’s path.
Unlike in Frost’s poem, however, I am presented with the fork in my path often, constantly. At any time I can choose to tread the path of faith. This path is scary and requires reliance on God for every step. Nothing is hidden. Everything is revealed. Light shines brightly to uncover secret thoughts, intimate desires, and petty selfishness; nothing more or less than the truth of who we are and our place in the world. The path of faith has a companion, Jesus. He walks by my side, picks me up when I fall, and converses with me. This path invites love, fellowship, trust, giving, and gratitude. There is no room for fear.
The path of fear or the path of faith, the choice stands before you and me every moment of every day. Are we willing to give up all, to place our future, happiness, desires, thoughts, secrets, and yes our fears themselves into God’s hands or de we cling tightly refusing to trust, refusing to change? I believe that no one who has chosen the path of faith has regretted it, yet on the path of fear there is much regret and disappointment of those too afraid to live by faith. The path of faith necessitates great courage, unconditional love, and abundance of mercy, grace and patience. It takes strength perseverance. This path burns away the dross of our lives leaving pure gold. Through trial and fire those who chose the path of faith become the best of who they are. The longer one stays on the path of faith the more like Jesus one becomes. I often pick the path of fear. It is easier, but my mind and heart remain tormented, carrying burdens of guilt, unmet desires, loneliness, and fear – always fear. At times I pick the path of faith. Terrifying in its way because I am stripped of all defenses and I am left vulnerable. I am vulnerable, but not ashamed, clothed in love – unafraid. Each step based solely on faith.
Something changes, a new challenge, a new choice, fear or faith. As in Frost’s poem those who choose the path of faith most often find “that [it] has made all the difference.” Few choose it, even fewer keep choosing it. It isn’t a path for the faint of heart, but those who persevere can say “I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”