We all come across crossroads in life. It is at these crossroads that we find that there are more than one road to choose from in which to travel forward.
These choices imply decisions. We are compelled to take decisions for determining the future course of action. But these decisions are sometimes not easy.
For some paths ahead will look easy, acceptable and comfortable. But some other paths will take us along unfamiliar terrain, tough mental struggles and often the outcome of the journey is unknown.
And it is often the difficult and different path that has proved the way of duty and of glory time and again. But the going forward in this path is never easy. It needs persistence.
And the Bible tells us of this pattern: Where persistence to walk in the path of duty has brought God’s blessing.
Example 1: Ruth (Ruth 1 to 4)
In the book of Ruth we find Naomi urging her daughters-in-law, Orpah and Ruth, to go back to their own people, the Moabites. The three of them were standing at a great crossroad in their lives.
Naomi had lost her husband and two sons. She had heard that there was food in Bethlehem and decided to go back to her hometown. But she generously asked her daughters-in-law to go back to their own people, get married again and find happiness.
There is a great drama unfolding here. Emotions are running high and they all weep. Finally Orpah is persuaded to go back and leaves. But Ruth is not persuaded and stays with Naomi! She makes a bold statement that Naomi’s people will be her own people and Naomi’s God her own God.
Finding that Ruth was surely determined to come with her, Naomi stopped trying to persuade her to return to her own people.
Naomi and Ruth reach Bethlehem. There Ruth gets married to Boaz who is a close relative of Naomi. Later she gave birth to Obed who became the father of Jesse, the father of David. And it is known to us that the Royal line of Jesus the Messiah is traced to David.
We find here a pattern emerge: It is amazing that God gave Ruth, a Moabite woman, the privilege to be part of the Messianic lineage of Jesus. But it was also the result of Ruth’s decision to go with Naomi.
It was her persistence to follow Naomi into her hometown that gave her this rich blessing.
It was her decision to make Naomi’s God her own God and Naomi’s people her own people that paved the way for the blessing. She also did not allow Orpah’s decision to go back influence her. So we find here the pattern of Crossroads » Decision » Persistence » Blessing.
Example 2: Elisha (2 Kings 2:1 to 18)
We find in the Bible an important episode in the life of Elijah and Elisha after it was known that God would be taking Elijah up to heaven. Elijah had already anointed Elisha to succeed him as the prophet of the Lord.
From the time of the anointing Elisha followed Elijah as his attendant. And when the time came for Elijah to be taken up to heaven, there unfolded a drama in their lives.
It started as they were on their way from Gilgal. Elijah asked Elisha to stay there for God had asked him to go to Bethel. But Elisha adamantly said that he will not leave Elijah. At Bethel the company of prophets came and asked Elisha whether he knew that God was going to take his master away from him that day.
Elisha replied that he knew it, but asked them not to speak of it. He was not going to be distracted by the emotional disturbance of the parting. For he was seeking something better.
Then the drama repeated itself all over again. This time Elijah spoke of going to Jericho. Elisha followed. The company of the prophets appeared. The dialogues were the same again.
Again the drama repeated itself. This time Elijah moved on to Jordan. Elijah rolled up his cloak and struck the water with it. The water divided to the right and to the left and both Elijah and Elisha crossed over to the other side as fifty men of the company of prophets kept watching.
Finally, Elijah asked Elisha what he wanted done for him. Elisha asked that he inherit a double portion of the spirit resting on Elijah. Elijah promised him that it would be his if he saw him being taken into heaven. Then Elisha saw Elijah being taken into heaven.
After that he took the cloak that had fallen from Elijah and went back to the Jordan. He struck the water with it asking “Where now is the Lord, the God of Elijah?” (2 Kings 2:14b NIV). And the waters divided and he crossed over. The company of the prophets who saw this said that the spirit of Elijah was resting on Elisha.
We find here a similar pattern emerge: Elisha could have been happy thinking that he was the prophet to succeed Elijah. So when Elijah asked him to stay back he could have done so.
But he takes a decision to follow Elijah to the very last moment. He also persists in following his decision because we find Elijah repeatedly asking Elisha to stay back.
Elisha also does not allow the company of prophets to distract him from his commitment to follow Elijah to the last. It brought him the blessing in the form of a double portion of the spirit of Elijah. So we find here the pattern of Crossroads » Decision » Persistence » Blessing.
As we look at Ruth and Elisha, we find that both of them dared to proclaim loudly what they believed in. Ruth said aloud that she was not going to leave Naomi. Elisha said aloud that he was not going to leave Elisha.
So when we stand at the crossroads of life it is important to proclaim our decision. This is very important because it will give us strength. Quite often when we stand at the crossroads of life we will be caught in two minds as to what to do.
Then we tend to talk in a kind of language that is full of doubt, despair and discouragement.
The only way to move on is to proclaim your decision out loud so that your own faith will be strengthened. It will also prevent others from discouraging you by giving you various suggestions that can cause you to deviate from your path of duty.
When you thus proclaim your decision aloud it will give you courage to move on. Many obstacles will still come. Yet repeatedly remind yourself of the decision that you took. Never give in to outside pressure to deviate from the path of duty.
And never give up in the face of insurmountable odds and obstacles. Treat them as reminders that you are in the path of duty. Their presence is the greatest proof that you are nearing the blessing that God has in store for you.
There will definitely come a time when you will look back at the crossroad where once you stood. You will then be happy about the decision you made.
You will thank God for giving you the vision and the courage to persist in the path of duty.
All the pain and heartache that you suffered will be forgotten as there will be great rejoicing when your decision and persistence will bring God’s blessing.