I can remember walking the West Highland Way, a 100-mile footpath between Glasgow and Fort William, in Scotland. It goes through some of the most beautiful scenery in the world but also some tough terrain. There is a particularly difficult climb over a mountainside called THE DEVIL’S STAIRCASE. It was a tough path to the top and the weather was being typically Scottish. When myself and my two companions got to the top we were worn out and wet but what a view. I learned that day that difficult paths can lead to good places.
I have also learned that the same is true in life not just on the West Highland Way. Recently I was reading the story of Elijah for a sermon and this thought came back to me.
Here is the incident that brought it to my mind;
“Then the LORD spoke his word to Elijah, ‘Go to Zarephath in Sidon and live there. I have commanded a widow there to take care of you.’ So Elijah went to Zarephath.” 1 Kings 17:8-10 (NCV)
Elijah at this point in his life felt vulnerable and afraid. Queen Jezebel had taken a contract out on his life, he was a marked man. He didn’t know what he was going to do or what was going to happen to him. Probably a bit like many of us do at the moment.
Its precisely when we feel like that, we should remember the path to a good place in life is often difficult but its worth taking.
This is what happened to Elijah “Then the Lord spoke his word to Elijah, ‘Go to Zarephath in Sidon and live there. I have commanded a widow there to take care of you.’ So Elijah went to Zarephath” (NCV). 1 Kings 17:8-10:
Obeying God for Elijah meant a difficult journey of about 100 miles on foot through a dangerous area during a drought. He also travelled knowing that King Ahab and Queen Jezebel would have people looking for him. Elijah’s path was definitely an uncomfortable one.
Elijah finally made it to Zarephath. There he met a poor widow who was going to feed and protect him in a miraculous way. Elijah’s journey reminds us that miracles usually don’t happen when things are comfortable and easy. Miracles generally happen when things are uncomfortable.
I can imagine if I had been Elijah and been told to walk 100 miles through an arid desert where there might be people looking to hunt me down, I may have argued with God and asked Him if He knew what He was doing.
Elijah just obeyed and the difficult path took him to a place where he experienced a miraculous intervention in his life. God’s path to a miracle often seems to take us through uncomfortable uncharted and challenging territory. Maybe its so we’ll learn to depend on him?
Think about how many times God’s people had to take the difficult path to God’s miracle for them.
When the Israelites were led out of slavery in Egypt to the Promised Land, they had to go through the Red Sea first.
Before David could experience victory over Goliath, he actually had to walk onto the battlefield.
God told Jehoshaphat to put the choir before the army, and he’d win the victory. I suspect that must have taken faith and the ability to ignore some loud criticism.
Rick Warren comments that “Miracles never happen in your comfort zone. When everything is settled in your life, you don’t need a miracle. You only need a miracle when you’re at a low.”
Perhaps if you are in difficult place in life right now, in your relationships, in your finances, in your emotions or physically you are also being led by God to a great place where you will see Him change your life around.
No matter how difficult the path, obey God, follows his way and just take that next step and the next, what you find at the end will be worth the journey.