Today I got to thinking about Robert Frost’s poem, The Road Not Taken. He writes at a fork in the path, telling us he took the path that was ‘grassy and wanted wear’, rather than the well beaten path. And I thought of times when I also took the road less travelled and where that road took me.
The Road Not Taken
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
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.
I also thought of the M. Scott Peck’s, popular self-help/psychology book, The Road Less Travelled, and how, desperate for some help and escape from a terrible depression, I picked up that book some eight years ago in a charity shop and how it helped me, quite by surprise.
I shall never forget the opening sentence of that book, ‘Life is difficult’ and how I battled with that.
“Well what do you expect from a secular book on matters of the soul?” I quizzed myself.
“It can’t be true! The Bible said that if we live for God then everything will work out fine.”
“Maybe things gone awry in my own life signified some kind of curse that rendered me beyond the help of God?” I worried and so my torment grew.
Yet I could not forget those words, ‘Life is difficult’, and how Jesus said, ‘You will know the truth and the truth will set you free’ (John 8.32) because free was what I so wanted to be. So I thought on the words of Jesus and carried on searching and (how could I have overlooked)I found Jesus also said, ‘In this world you will have trouble’. There it was in red letters, plain to see. So it was true. Maybe trouble was normal and not such a terrible thing after all.
I read on to the end of the M Scott Peck book and I took on board the wisdom because I needed all the help I could get and indeed it is a promise of God that in this world we will have trouble. And I grew a little better having reconciled myself somewhat to my state.
But that is not all (thank God!)
For sometime later I read the second half of the you-will-have-trouble promise of God in the gospel of John,
In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
I have overcome the world!
Spoken every time he called a man or woman ‘Come follow me’, every time he healed the sick and or raised the dead, or set someone free form something that held them, something evil, intent on their destruction.
I have overcome the world !
Spoken every time he taught kingdom, or parable, with every unfolding of the scripture, with every lie un-covered, there he was overcoming ignorance and oppression and doubt.
I have overcome the world !
Spoken from the cross and right down to the grave, then spoken more wondrously than ever before, on a resurrection morning, and in an upper room.
And I came to know it too, an overcoming word spoken to me by Christ. So I share it: a small belief that there is trouble and the greater belief that he has overcome.