The road less traveled
“I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I -
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”
Robert Frost penned those beautiful words 105 years ago. For generations since, they have been chiseled into our memory. They are profound because they are relatable. We can envision ourselves standing there and gazing down each path. It’s a familiar place where we often find ourselves.
Life is filled with divergent roads, choices that we are forced to make. Some seem small in the moment while others appear to be life-altering but all will impact us and ultimately others as well. Each time we stand at the precipice of two roads, we find ourselves on a pivot point in our lives. Time stands still for no one, always marching steadily forward, necessitating we pivot and continue down one road or the other.
Every sin that we commit leads us to a fork in the road, and we must choose which path to continue down. We can choose the path of shifting blame to others, denial of fault, and complaining of the consequences that we now face. It is a path that is very well-worn and easy to walk, but that is ultimately a loop that will bring us quickly back to where we currently stand.
The other path is certainly less traveled. It is the path of examining ourselves and searching out the sins that we have committed. It is the path of recognizing what we have done to stray from the Lord and then repenting and returning to Him.
In 586 B.C., King Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonian army laid siege to Jerusalem. The city was destroyed and burned. Everything, including the Temple, lay in ruins and almost all of the inhabitants were killed or exiled. All that remained were the people deemed not valuable enough to bring back to Babylon.
All of this was done in exact accordance to the terms of the covenant that God had made with Moses and the Israelites of that time. The consequences of sin and disobedience were foretold many generations before and God, ever faithful to His word, brought them to pass.
Those left in Jerusalem stood at the divergence of two roads needing to decide how they would respond to these consequences of their sin. The prophet Jeremiah spoke into this situation the wise words of Lamentations 3:39-40, “Why should the living complain when punished for their sins? Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord.”
The question that now lies before each one of us is when we commit sin, how will we respond? When we fall short, where will we turn? Let us be those who examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord. Let us be those who choose the road less traveled.