Matthew 7:13–14 (NIV): “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”
My father-in-law and I were swapping stories over dinner one day at Mama’s and Nana’s Cafe. The conversation turned to cattle as it usually does. He shared some new humorous tales about his recently sold open cows.
Then, he looked at me and said, “You know, cattle never go where you want them to.”
This is true. I’ve experienced this, as I am sure many of you have.
The sun had been up for only a few hours when my father-in-law and his help (including me) finally split the cow/calf pairs for weaning. The calves would stay near the home place while we hauled the cows to a different pasture.
We had carefully set up the cattle fence so that the cows could walk easily through the funnel to the waiting trailers. However, we experienced one problem.
A big problem.
The cows did not want to walk through the funnel to the trailers. They tried to ram the fence. They tried to intimidate us so that they could run by our rattle paddles. They would rather suffer yelling and pain (and the possibility of being shipped to the sale barn) rather than walk through that narrow funnel into the trailers.
The narrow path provided a better situation. It provided better food, a chance for maturity and growth, and less pain in the future.
But, the narrow path provided pain at the moment. It provided uncertainty at the moment. The narrow path demanded that the cows give up their independence in exchange for all of the blessings.
In the moment, cattle would rather take the broad path that leads to destruction rather than the narrow path that leads to life.
We are a lot like cattle. God provided a path to blessing and eternal life. He told us to walk down it. He told us to follow Jesus.
A simple task.
However, for some reason, we would rather go anywhere but that path. We would rather take the path that brings ultimate pain and destruction rather than walk down the path that brings life.
Which path are you on?
Hebrews 11:1 (NIV): Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
Faith. It is such a little word, but it has so much significance.
We have all had some hard years recently. Many articles have been written about community hurts these past five years. But, the hurts grow deeper. Every family has pain that is not recorded in a newspaper. Every family experiences sickness, heartache, financial difficulties, marriage problems, parenting problems—The list goes on and on.
What can carry us through all of the hurt, pain, and turmoil in our life?
In a word: Faith.
I do not have the space to record the pain that I have experienced in my life. All I can say is, I am grateful for my faith in Jesus Christ. He has given me hope through hardship, courage through calamity, and endurance through every struggle. He has given me purpose and resolve. Without Him, I would be lost.
Faith can carry anyone through any situation. However, any situation can shake our faith.
We all have questions about our faith. We have questions about Scripture. We have questions about how Scripture applies to specific situations in our life. The great thing about Christianity is we can ask questions without fear. Our God is big enough to take any question we ask through any situation.
In the back of our sanctuary, we have a bowl labeled: Ask the Pastor. Anyone can place any question in that bowl pertaining to theology, to the Bible, and to how one should live as a Christian in specific instances. Once a year, I devote a whole service to answering the questions in the bowl.
I offer this to you, as the reader. If you have any questions about faith, the Bible, or how Scripture applies to specific situations in our life, mail them to me. I will answer them in this column to the best of my ability, during my rotation. Or, if space does not permit, I will respond by mail. All questions will remain confidential.
I look forward to pursuing this journey of faith with you, so that we can all grow in confidence and assurance.
Pastor of Calvary Bible Church, Neligh, NE. Missionary with RHMA. Husband to Maggie. Father to Grace, David, and Daniel. Saved by Jesus Christ