A Stroll in The Woods – Lesson 1

Annually I like to take a weekend and spend it in solitude, deep in the mountains of Pennsylvania. I do this to reflect on God’s Word, to clear my mind and heart, seeking God’s direction for the year ahead.

This year, I chose to hang my hammock and pitch my tent, on a secluded spot on Sandy Ridge, Pa. It was a gorgeous spot overlooking the scenic valley below, surrounded by forest.

My humble home on Sandy Ridge

I decided to take a day to hike into an area I had always wanted to see, the Red Moshannon Viaduct. My grandfather used to pick cranberries there.

Red Moshannon Viaduct

Reuben & Helen Pifer with 119 quarts of Cranberries

My devotional for the morning, prior to my hike, was one of my favorite passages in the Bible, Matthew chapter 5, 6 and 7; we often refer to this section as the “Sermon on the Mount.”

This part of the Bible contains the “Nuts & Bolts” of Christianity. Jesus really laid it out here; I recommend that you read it . . . all three chapters, and then read it again, a little slower, savoring all the nuggets along way; then read it one more time for good measure. I guarantee you will want to go back to this passage, repeatedly, I know I do!

In chapter 7, verses 13 and 14, Jesus says this: “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.”

As I headed down over the side of the mountain to reach the Moshannon Viaduct, I found myself paralleling Interstate 80. As I headed down over the bank, I was about 100 yards from that massive highway; the cars and truck roaring by; careening to destinations unknown to me.


I was picking my way through the soggy, dense forest, now on a deer path traversing a 50-degree slope, pushing through thick, wet mountain laurel, stinging twigs slapping my face, brushing off mosquitoes, slipping from time to time! Only 100 yards away was a smooth, flat, easy highway; people whizzing effortlessly past me.

I sat down to rest, and then I realized that this must be what Jesus was talking to me about earlier. Getting on the interstate is easy, and once you get on it, it’s pedal to the metal and off you go!

So many today are flying through life, roaring to new jobs, bigger homes, adding relentlessly to a retirement fund, breathlessly chasing dreams, running fast and hard; all the while unaware at the end of this broad highway, according to Jesus, there is nothing but eternal destruction.

The other option is not so much a road, but a path; this road has a Gatekeeper, and His Name is Jesus; there is no other entrance-way; you MUST go through Him. Once you meet Him, He takes you on a journey. Jesus leads the way, looking back and with a grin stretching from ear to ear, He says; “Come, Follow Me.”

The way is often precarious, the twists and turns can be both frightening and exhilarating. There is danger, mysterious intrigue, and profound wonder, as you follow the Son of God. The narrow road is full of sights and sounds that those, only 100 yards away, never see.

The destination of this road less traveled is life . . . life never ending; it does not end in destruction, but continues; on and on, it is eternal, forever and ever!

If I have wet your whistle and you want to enter this narrow way, then consider Jesus. If drawn to the gatekeeper, and by ANY means, run to Him, and get in on this journey.

I can’t wait to see what’s around the next bend . . . Hey Jesus, wait up . . . I’m coming!

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