There are paths carved all over our woods. From my kitchen window I see them. When I walk along these rough trails I smile, knowing this is the work of my boys - young arms and sholders and determiniation all bent together to create something visible. Paths which take them not very far, but path-making which takes them worlds away.
They clear these trails not for their mother, but for their boyhood. These brothers forage through the wilderness of our few acres, perhaps imagining themselves in and Amazon rainforest or African jungle. Survival isn't the game for these suburban childen who, when called, will come in to hot water and clean sheets and dinner on the table.
But I call them hesitantly. I call then slowly. I wait as long as I can. Dinner almost cold. Dusk turning dark. I wish not to disrupt the blaze of their trail, but to protect the spark in their eyes and the adventure in their day. My boys need to be boys - outside and wild. Trail blazing and tree climbing. Hooting and hollering to each other across wood and dirt and debris. Forts and burrows and barefoot. There will be plenty of time later for civilization and clean feet but for now, I am slow to give up these child savages. For now, I am passionate to protect the moments of exploration and expedition. They will be better for it. I know it.
Right now I can easily step out on their paths, assured they will take me down to the creek or circle back to our house. They are predictable. But there are paths out ahead of which I know nothing. Paths, in their future, on which I won't be invited. This is why I want them to make paths now - to dig, rake, plow and clear, I want them confident in their blazing abilities because I know someday they will be blazing in another kind of wilderness. They will face some kind of tough terrain in their future; wild places which won't include mom or dad.
Although I won't always be able to watch them from my windrow, I am so thankful for the One who watches over then, the One who goes before then, the One who blazes right along with them.
Deuteronomy 31:8 says, The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.
Proverbs 3:5-6 tell us, Trust in the Lord with all your heart acknowledge him and he will make straight your paths.