One of my favorite parts of the day is walking the dogs. Whether it’s one of our wiener dogs or Belfry, my service dog, I enjoy leashing them up several times during the day and going for a long walk around the lake. I’m astonished at the things they find appealing. Bird feathers, a McDonald’s sack, a stick, the list is endless. When Belfry was going through training, our trainer pointed out that while it was important for him to enjoy checking out the smells and prizes we find, it was equally as important he knows how to immediately leave them to focus on me. This brought forth the cue, “This Way.” As Belfry and I would walk around the lake, he would find his hidden, albeit nasty treasure, and in an uplifting voice, I would say, “This Way,” go in another direction, expecting Belfry to follow. As you can imagine, he wasn’t all that keen on the idea. In fact, as we began practicing the cue, he would look at me and cock his head as if to say, “You’ve got to be kidding. I’ve just uncovered this dead fish. I can’t leave it!” But, when Belfry dropped what he was doing to follow me, we changed directions and I would pull out yet another weapon in my dog training arsenal: Part of an oatmeal cookie. A carrot. Beef liver. Leftover bacon. Belfry quickly learned that when he stopped his activity, followed me in a totally different direction, that he would be rewarded with a very nice surprise. Not only that, he knows I am going to walk with him every step of the way, guiding his path, keeping him safe. As you can imagine, now when I say “This Way!” Belfry runs to me with leaps and bounds, eager to follow, knowing something wonderful is about to ensue.
The Pharisee Saul was on his way to Damascus when the Lord said, “This Way!” In a moment God changed Saul’s direction – and his name – putting him on a different course. God had something wonderful in store for Paul. “Really,” you say. “You call being chained in prison wonderful?” Of course not, but what is more wonderful than leading others to Christ?
Moses was tending his father-in-law’s sheep when God said, “This Way!” In a moment, his life went in a different path as he began leading his people out of bondage. I doubt that Moses knew his “This Way” path would have him walking through the Red Sea or writing the Ten Commandments.
How about Joseph? One day he was with his brothers and the next day he was a slave. While I’m sure Joseph looked at that as a negative, we can’t forget that his “This Way” moment ultimately lead him to becoming Governor of Egypt.
We have all had moments in our life where we are traveling down a smooth and comfortable road, enjoying the pleasures life, when suddenly God says, “This Way,” stopping us in our tracks, and taking us on a completely different course.
EXCEEDING OUR WILDEST DREAMS
Throughout scripture, there are several verses that allude to the concept of “This Way!”
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. – Isaiah 55:8
I can think of so many moments I was headed in one direction when God pulled out a “This Way!” and took me in a different direction. Each time He has said, “Don’t worry! Follow Me and Trust Me. I know what I’m doing – and while the path may be rocky, the end is going to exceed your wildest dreams.” And every time His promise has come true!
I hope your day is filled with long walks, beautiful scenery, and surprises along the way. And if you hear “This Way,” don’t hesitate to change directions. The Master will walk with us and take care of us each step of the journey – and it will be better than could ever imagine!