Last week, a severe thunderstorm and a couple of tornadoes swept through my region. While I was concerned about the normal things (safety of lives, homes, cars and property), I also had another concern – that no animals escaped the wildlife park I work at! When I arrived at work the morning after the storm, I was asked to start walking fence lines and make sure they were intact. Many trees had been blown over, and we wanted to make sure we promptly fixed any damaged fences before an animal tried to escape.
While I usually enjoy a walk through the woods, the task of checking fence lines was one of my most frustrating responsibilities when I was a zookeeper. Most of the fence line has Ashe Juniper trees growing against the fence.
Not only does this make it challenging for me to see the fence, but it also is a painful experience to hunch over and fight my way between tree limbs and the fence. There were times when I was tempted to walk further from the fence where there was easier terrain, but if I wandered too far from the fence I’d lose sight of it and wouldn’t be see holes or problem areas. I needed to remain close to the fence, despite the struggles and challenges. I was covered in mud and sweat, my shirt was torn by a branch and I was exhausted. But I knew I needed to stay the course.
As I walked and struggled through the trees, I was reminded of Matthew 7:13-14 (ESV),
“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few”. Matthew 7:13-14 (ESV)
As challenging and painful as it was to walk near the fence, I knew that’s where I needed to be in order to do my job to the best of my ability. If I took the easier road, I’d lose sight of the fence. God calls us to the narrow path, and Jesus warned us that we would face tribulations. But he also reminded us that he has overcome the world!
“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (ESV)
I challenge you to take the narrow and difficult road. I promise you that the reward will far exceed the trials! Paul wrote, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Romans 8:18). He didn’t say, “The reward is much better than the suffering”; he said that the reward wasn’t even worth comparing! That’s how awesome heaven will be – it is so amazing that it can’t even be compared to the trials!
There was one more adventure in my morning that led me to recite scripture. I was walking back to my truck, realizing that I was in one of the areas where the antelope liked to hide their calves. While you may be picturing some dainty gazelle, what I am referring to is a 200-300 pound addax with two long horns that is very protective of its baby and is not afraid to chase down a person and wage war.
As I quickly walked back to my truck, I began reciting Psalm 23:4,
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4 (ESV)
I took comfort in the fact that God is always with me. He has kept me safe through many dangerous experiences, and He is all-powerful.
Praise the Lord I didn’t see any antelope during that walk AND all the fences were in great shape! After several hours of struggling through the woods and praying for safety, I was very relieved to be finished. Ladies, please remember that God’s path is narrow and hard, but He is always with us and He has promised a reward that far outweighs our sufferings!
“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (ESV)
About the Author
I am a Christ-loving woman who is continually being stretched by the Lord. I live in small-town Texas and love playing soccer, baking cookies, playing games and hugging trees. I split my time between working towards the conservation of endangered species and training up the next generation of children and youth at my church.