The Road Not Taken

The Lord of Hosts has sworn, saying,
“Surely, as I have thought, so it shall come to pass,
And as I have purposed, so it shall stand:
That I will break the Assyrian in My land,
And on My mountains tread him underfoot.
Then his yoke shall be removed from them,
And his burden removed from their shoulders.
This is the purpose that is purposed against the whole earth,
And this is the hand that is stretched out over all the nations.
For the Lord of hosts has purposed,
And who will annul it?
His hand is stretched out,
And who will turn it back?”
Isaiah 14:24-27

This one’s for me, but maybe it’s for you as well.

The day was August 7, 1975. I had accepted Jesus Christ as my personal savior in January and was a student at Christ For The Nations Institute. I was seeking the Lord for my future, my ministry. It seemed so many of the students had futures that were sure and true. They were being called into youth ministry or to the mission field or to pastor or into music ministry. I felt no calling at all. Maybe I’m called to intercessory prayer ministry, I thought. Yeah, that must be it.

Then came that Thursday morning in August. For the first time in my newly born life, I knew the Spirit of God was speaking to my heart. I read Isaiah 14:24-27 with crystal clear understanding. It wasn’t about what I was to do. It was all about what He was doing. I wrote the date and the Scripture reference in the front leaf of my first Bible, a Bible that’s still around the house somewhere. Next to the date I wrote “World Missions”.

The fresh expectations of that revelatory morning have endured a lot of wear and tear in the 38 years since. I left CFNI and joined the workforce, which felt like failure. I struggled emotionally. I struggled spiritually. I wrestled with demons: others’ and my own.

I earned a pilot certificate in the month following Isaiah’s visitation. I thought I must be destined the fly to the mission field. Missionary pilot, yeah baby! So I flew, but seemed to go nowhere. I cast about, searching for direction. I became an air traffic controller, a career that was a Godsend. Still it felt like second place, a consolation prize for the girl who couldn’t pull off God’s best. Trudge on, good soldier.

I wrote a novel. Not just any novel, but an evangelical story about the Lord. Yes! Finally, I found my place. I’m a writer! But the novel didn’t sell. So here I sat, a civil servant. Still feeling sidetracked from the “Perfect Will of God.” Bah!

I retired from civil service and took a day job. Free at last from the golden handcuffs! What to do? What to do? I thought to chart my course carefully. This is important, I thought. Better find that will of God once and for all. (See July 2012 LOG “Root Cause Analysis”)

Yet for all my failings – which are too numerous to count much less blog – for all my failings, He has been the true north guiding me through these seemingly random, sometimes confusing years and days and hours. He has opened the doors I’ve walked through. He has provided the grace to succeed. He nurtured the despised infant (Ezekiel 16). He’s nurturing still.

It was the Lord who inspired my dad to introduce me to aviation, both as a pilot and as a controller. It would only sound like boasting to recount the positions and influence that ensued. Let’s just say it far exceeded anything I could have hoped for or imagined. Yet it all felt like a side trip off the beaten path. My mom introduced me to ministry: the prophetic, healing, prayer, salvation. What about my ministry? Not praying with people at work, or whatever. Real ministry! Something legitimate like being a missionary or maybe a conference speaker. What about that?

I have always loved Robert Frost’s 1920 poem, “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;
Those 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.

That August morning in 1975, two roads equally lay: The road I imagined would be my path and the road that was. The Lord saw the latter road: My path.

My heart brims with gratitude. Not only that, my soul rests in hope of His salvation for me and through me. His purpose has not changed. His call is still crystal clear, inviting me to get with His program. Perhaps the years have given me a few things of my own to bring to the table, a few treasures to contribute to the cause.

I will bring to Him the things with which He has adorned me. I will not give them to another. Thereby He can rejoice over me with gladness, and quiet me with His love. He will rejoice over me with a song. (Zephaniah 3:17)

I get it, Lord. I understand.

I took the road less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.

© M K Simonds

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