If you were to drive north out of our little town of Decatur, TX on FM 730 you would eventually come to a “T” in the road. Taking a left on FM 455 would eventually bring you to Forestburg, which I am told was a stopover for cattle drive cowboys back in the 1800’s.
A few years ago I was out that way and was fascinated to look through a barbed wire fence and see a set of wheel tracks going north across the prairie. The person I was with told me that this was a part of the Chisholm Trail, a route that in the 1800’s cattle drives took north out of Texas to railheads in Kansas.
I was amazed to see that a hundred years later one could still see wagon tracks across the prairie, the land scarred by what had happened on it. It was evident that something had passed here.
In 1992 I left Amoco Production Company to go into fulltime ministry. I have since come to believe that all Christians are in “fulltime ministry” (although most prefer to let the “professionals” do the work of ministering Jesus to others.) So, I didn’t really quit Amoco to go into fulltime ministry; rather, I left behind the seeming security of a regular paycheck to enter a world in which I would be ever more dependent upon the Lord for His provision.
It’s been a wonderful journey.
Much of my ministry has had to do with the ministering of Jesus to wounded souls. The world calls it counseling and I use that term often because that’s a word that people understand but God sees it as burden bearing and discipleship.
After taking what I estimate to be some 600 plus histories in the past 18 years it’s become long evident that our souls are like that North Texas prairie: scarred by what has passed through them.
Among us walk the spiritually wise and the spiritually unwise. The greatest source of wisdom is reverence toward the Lord.
“The fear (reverence) of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; a good understanding have all those who do His commandments. His praise endures forever.” (Psalm 11:10)
The Word reveals that the initiation wisdom has to do with revering the Lord. Reverence is an attitude; reverence of the Lord is practiced (and its fruits are harvested) when we live in accordance to what the Lord finds important.
Psalm 111:10 says that when we practice what the Lord says to do this reveals that we understand the One we revere. The Hebrew word for “understanding” is “sekel” and it literally means “intelligence.”
Since the majority of all who exist on the earth are lost, most people obviously do not revere the Lord God. If they did, they would obey Him and would be born again. This being the case, almost all on the earth lack true wisdom, live as spiritual fools, having no spiritual intelligence.
While it may seem that I might delight in saying that, since I obviously DO revere the Lord, I really do not enjoy that reality. It grieves me. It grieves me because by not revering the Lord lost people will never recover from the wounds in their souls.
“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” (Psalm 147:3)
No one else can heal the brokenhearted. No one else can bind up their wounds. Therefore, for those who refuse the Lord Jesus, they choose to remain brokenhearted and wounded. The Father is aware of this and grieves for lost people.
“Before Me continually are grief and wounds.” (Jeremiah 6:7a)
In my years of ministry I have also noted that there are many born again people who remain brokenhearted and wounded as well. Their souls also bear the tracks of what has passed through them.
This troubled and puzzled me for many years but I believe I understand why this sad situation exists.
My wife Laurie and I recently took a drive out through where the Chisholm Trail can still be seen rolling across the prairie. As we went on to Forestburg we saw a street sign that was so intriguing that we made sure to get a picture of it. That sign is what the Lord used to provoked me to write this piece.
The street had a deliciously interesting name. It seemed almost prophetic.
Here is what the road sign said:
It seems to me there truly is a “seldom seen road” – there are many, in fact.
For the lost, the path to Jesus is a seldom seen road because so few in the body of Christ will extend themselves and share the gift of salvation with others. Jesus is the single way or road to salvation.
There is no other.
“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.’” (John 14:6)
Once we are in Christ, that road branches off, like a braided stream.
A braided stream is a single stream that divides for a season and then all the branches reunite as one stream again. In Christ there are many branches. These consist of ways that the Lord has provided in order to address the wounds of our souls. These branches are deliverance, inner healing, release from strongholds, freedom from addiction, etc.
Because of the disorder that exists within the body of Christ due to drifting from the simplicity of first century Church life, many of these branches are “seldom seen roads.”
We are often correctly told that “we got everything we need when we came to Jesus.” All salvation and healing is to be found in Jesus.
“He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him;
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:3-6)
Again, all salvation and healing is to be found in Jesus. Yet, why do so many of our brothers and sisters (saved from hell) seem to not be experiencing salvation and healing from the wounds in their souls?
For many, because of doctrines of men, these are not only “seldom seen roads” but roads that if the people were to travel them, they would be accused of heresy.
It IS true that “we got everything we need when we came to Jesus”.
It is also true that if we do not receive what we have gotten, what we have gotten will not affect us at all.
“He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name…” (John 1:10-12)
According to verse 11 Jesus’ people had gotten Him. According to verse 12 only through receiving Him would they become God’s children.
“For I have given to them the words which You have given Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from You; and they have believed that You sent Me.” (John 17:8)
Jesus gave them the words the Father said to give them. They benefited when they received them.
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:28-29)
Jesus has given us a lot, including restoration of our souls, but many of us never receive it. For those these are “seldom seen roads; instead, the people resign themselves to “claiming” (by mouth) healing and restoration that is available but never receive it in their souls. For them it becomes a “head knowledge” but not “heart knowledge” tragic waste of God’s grace for soul healing.
Robert Frost, who was raised Christian, wrote a poem named “The Road Not Taken”:
There is in the body of Christ a road less traveled that were it to be taken would make all the difference.
This is the seldom seen road. In the Bible the word “way” almost always means “well trodden road”.
“Who is the man that fears the LORD? Him shall He teach in the way He chooses. He himself shall dwell in prosperity, and his descendants shall inherit the earth.” (Psalm 25:12-13)
May the “seldom seen road” of soul restoration become the norm in the body of Christ! May it become well traveled. May it become our preferred “way” as the family of the one true God.
“Teach me Your way, O LORD; I will walk in Your truth; unite my heart to fear Your name. I will praise You, O Lord my God, with all my heart, and I will glorify Your name forevermore.” (Psalm 86:11-12)
The foolish…those who say there is no God will never do this but we who are born again can and will if we will only trust in the Lord and obey Him!
May it be so!
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways (trodden roads) acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths (well trodden paths). Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and depart from evil. It will be health to your flesh, and strength to your bones.” (Proverb 3:5-8)