The Right Path
“ . . . you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.”
These are the words of Jesus to Peter after he recommissioned him on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. If you remember the story (which is recorded in chapter twenty-one, the last chapter in the Gospel of John, then you know that Peter had decided to go back to his old job as a fisherman. Seven other disciples who also had made their living fishing followed him.
They fished all night and caught nothing. That’s when a figure on the distant shore called out to them to let their net down one more time on the right side of the boat. The result was 153 fish! That’s when Peter recognized Jesus, jumped in the water, and swam to shore. There, on the beach, Jesus cooked breakfast for his disciples.
After breakfast, we read about that probing question Jesus asked Peter three times, “Do you love me?” And after Peter assured the Lord that he did indeed love him, Jesus said, “Feed my lambs, feed my sheep.”
But the call to feed his sheep would be costly for Peter, as Jesus makes clear in the quote above. John tells us that “Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he (Jesus) said to him, ‘Follow me.’” (Jn. 21:19)
Psalm 23:3 says, “He guides me along the right path for his name’s sake.”
It’s easy to think of “the right path” as the comfortable path. It’s not. But it is the narrow path; it is the path that leads to life. And we are called to walk that path “for his name’s sake.” The next verse makes this truth clear to us — “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” (Ps. 23:4)
There are those paths that our Lord calls us to walk for the sake of His name that are fraught with peril and filled with pain. Jesus did not mince words with Peter. He plainly said that to follow him, Peter would have to go “where he did not want to go.”
There are times when we must do the same, and it’s never easy. But Christ is always there, even in the darkest valley. He’s not there to make us comfortable, but He is there to comfort us.
What is the path your Lord is calling you to walk? Where is it that you do not want to go? Whatever that path, and wherever it leads, I can promise you this based on God’s Word and my own experience — it’s worth it. Follow Him.