Early this morning I went into the garage, looked at all the stuff, and shook my head with worry. A few hours later I went to an informational session hosted by the seminary’s placement office. The placement director spoke about the surprises that are certain to come on Call Day (the day when fourth year seminarians find out the location and congregation to which they will serve as pastor). Later today, my wife was at a Lenten worship service when the preacher noted that life is a journey that leads to unexpected places. These three seemingly unrelated events all point to the same assertion. Looking back on my life and looking ahead, such assertions have more than a kernel of truth. My family and I honestly don’t have a clue as to where we are going (or what to do with all the accumulated junk!) In other words, what path are we on?
Of course, one does not need to be a soon-to-graduate seminarian to question the path they are on. In fact, nearly everyone at some point in time questions their life’s path. But as we continue our journey through Lent, I am reminded of the path of Jesus’ life. It is a path that led straight to Calvary. A path that led to execution, to what was perceived as a dishonorable death. But as Paul reminds us in 2 Corinthians 5:21, it is through this death that we are made righteous.
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us,
so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
It is through the death and resurrection of Christ that there is life. Eternal life. The path that apparently led to death is actually the path of life. Death turned into life – now that is a unexpected surprise! It is a path that has been made known to us and is open to all who believe. As the psalmist notes in Psalm 16:11:
You make known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
As I returned home and backed the car into the garage (doing my best to avoid the toys and tools that haphazardly cluttered the floor) a song came on the radio. It was a song based on Psalm 119:105:
Your word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
As I listened to the song I was reminded that I know precisely where my path leads. It is a path promised and illuminated by the words of God. It is a path secured by the living Word. It is a path not to an unexpected destination, but to a sure and certain path to heaven. Wherever the path may go between here and heaven, the destination won’t change. Knowing this final destination enables me to see the twists and turns of my life path from an eternal perspective of peace and hope.