A woman runs a forested trail near her home. It seems a miracle, given that leading up to that point, everything in her wanted to stay on the couch and mourn the loss of her vision of what her family would be like.
“The Bible is wrong about a lot of things,” says her bright-eyed 6 year old, kind of sadly. The very same sentence that came out of her father’s mouth the day before, as the three of them left the library, where there happened to be a grand exhibit about evolution. Thanks for that, Library.
That one little sentence had sent her down a whirlwind path of despair as she saw her future morphing into something very different than she had hoped or pictured for marriage, for her children, for their legacy. The man of faith she married had evolved into a man of intense doubt to the point of criticism and cynicism, and now those attitudes faced her whenever a discussion was sparked when their beliefs clashed. Because she believed what he found to be a great lie.
And now to hear her daughter, of barely six years old, affected by it…
It was too much to bear.
She contemplated going for a run. Clear her mind. Focus on the rhythm of her footfalls instead of the hurt in her heart. Something inside her, even though she was physically feeling the hopelessness overwhelming her, told her, “Go now.” And she listened.
About a quarter mile into her run, the thoughts, doubts, fears, swirled in her head and combined with the lack of fire and depth she’d been battling in her faith for months, until it bubbled up from her soul and overflowed in tears, making it difficult to breathe. She new she’d have to slow to a walk or she’d pass out.
There weren’t many on the trail that day, and she was thankful for it as she walked the trail quietly sobbing over the reality that was crushing in on top of her.
She loved nature. It had always been a comfort to her. Always helped her to set her perspective straight. She hoped this would be one of those times, but doubt in God and His goodness left her feeling rather hopeless in that area as well.
A dock approached on the left hand side, overlooking a small clear pond. She loved to look at water. It was one of her favorite things on Earth. So, naturally, she stopped for a look.
She leaned comfortably against the wooden railing and started taking in the view of this beautiful scene. Still teary, but managing deep breaths of fresh air.
The water was beautiful, clear, with a thick bed of seaweed and murk on the bottom, but beautiful none the less. The sun was shining directly onto the water, illuminating all that was in it. She could so clearly see fish swimming above the seaweed, bubbles rising from the plant life and all that lived in it. It was peaceful.
Then her eyes landed on the creature that rocked her world and radically threw it into perspective. From the moment she laid eyes on it, the scales fell away from her eyes and she saw.
The small turtle, sturdy, tough, protected, sat atop a lone log in the middle of the pond. There was only a narrow patch of it untouched by water, and there he sat. Atop the narrow path, when all others where taking to the water, the wide path. He, the lone turtle, sat directly in the light and warmth of the sun. No, he was doing more than sitting in the sun. He was bathing in the sun. Basking in the sun. On stable, solid ground that the log provided.
Confidence radiated in it’s posture. Neck extended. Head up. Aware of his surroundings. It had a presence. He was exactly where he needed to be. He did not doubt the path he was on just because he was the only one on it.
In her mind as she watched this turtle, pathways started to form in her brain. Tying her to this turtle. And God spoke to her.
The path is narrow. Few find it. We’re living in a world of doubt, but that doesn’t mean you become a fish. That you give in and let your doubts and fears pull you into the water with everybody else. We are called to be vastly different. We are the chosen ones. We have the privilege of remaining on the solid ground that is Jesus if we chose. Who put that log there? Who carves out the narrow paths for our feet? Who longs for us to bask in the light for all to see? Who wants us to share that light with those in the dark?
It was in that moment, that she realized she had to have faith. The faith that was beyond understanding. The faith to continue to pray for her husband, for her daughter, for her future children, for their legacy. The faith to live for Jesus first and foremost. To make bold moves. To share the stories. To disciple. To let those around her chose their path, sure, but for her to show them how wonderful it was to be on the path that is narrow.
With tears of hope and joy on her cheeks at the revelation, she climbed out of the water to join the turtle on the log.