• Jordan Budke

Where Is Your Pathway Leading?

1 Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked

or stand in the way the sinners take

or sit in the company of mockers,

2 but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,

and who meditates on his law day and night.

3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,

which yields its fruit in season

and whose leaf does not wither--

whatever they do prospers.

Psalm 1:1-3 NIV

Growing up, I lived in a neighborhood that was right out of a little boy's dream. My house was the middle house on the street. Next door was my best friend Jeff. Next door to Jeff was our best friend Zach. Directly across the street from my house, literally gum spitting distance, was our best friend Joe and about four houses down the other way was our best friend Gabe. On top of living less than walking distance from all of my best friends, our neighborhood was surrounded by what we called the "woods". We lived smack dab in the middle of a forest.

The entirety of the neighborhood mapped out similarly to a Candyland game board. There were winding paths that went uphill and downhill and side to side with a massive creek that ran through it all. In little boy fashion we nicknamed various parts of this game board-like neighborhood. There was the rock path we named "Rocky Road" which led to adjoining streets. There was the part of the creek that had to have been at least four feet deep that we named "Dead Man's". There was the "Reading Tree" that grew in perfect for all of us to climb and find our ideal spots to recline, hang out and even sometimes read a book. The epicenter of the "woods" grew in so thick and wonderfully that we could grab a vine and swing from tree to tree. Crawdad fishing in the creek, coyote den prowling, hide and seek. I think you can see the pitcure--it was magic. A little boy's Narnia. We spent hours upon hours every week exploring, creating and making memories in the woods. It was our happy place--our retreat.

One day after a long, fun day fishing with my Dad all I could think about was getting home to see my friends. When we got back I went to each of their doors to see if they were home..they weren't. In fact, this happened a lot. Their families were home but my friends were not so there was only one place they could all be and that was of course, the woods. I remember grabbing my jacket and running down there. As I walked down the dirt path I saw my friends each sitting on their individual stumps of wood. The looks on their faces I'll never forget. Like staring into a black hole. Empty, speechless but yet filled with sorrow. I grabbed a stump and looked out. While I was fishing with my Dad that day the tractors rolled in and leveled our woods--our Narnia. The place was wrecked. Trees chopped down. Empty skies that once were covered by vines and a ground that once looked unexplored was now ruined and fully exhausted by the tracks of a bulldozer.

Immediately things were different. The pathways that once led to ultimate joy and everlasting beauty now led to devastating destruction and reminders of what once was.

When I read Psalm 1 I think about two pathways. These two pathways are similar in the regard that they last for eternity but these two pathways are different because they lead to two separate destinations. The pathway of the leaf that never withers and the pathway that leads to destruction.

One blessed. One wicked.

One holding some of the greatest news we could ever imagine and one with the most alarming. It should make you reflect on yourself, your life and your decisions. Does your life reflect a life that is blurred by the the sins of yourself and those around you or does your life reflect that of someone "whose delight is in the law of the Lord and who meditates on his law day and night."?

My path is like the ones found in my former neighborhood--uphill, downhill & side to side--but my desire is for it to be the one that leads to ultimate joy and everlasting beauty. It is up to me to make sure I don't allow the devastating destruction of a bulldozer to leave it's tracks.

If your life were a pathway, where would it lead?

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