The Road less … marked

Maybe three-quarters of the way up to El Valle, in one of the little towns, a road veers off sharply on the right. Nicely paved and lined, the narrow path drops steeply from the main road.  It doesn’t look like a way back to Coronado, but it is an alternate route.
The first time Sue and I ventured down this scenic route, we weren’t entirely sure we were on the correct road. We proceeded cautiously, but quickly became enthralled with the rugged beauty of the scenery. Not far down the uncertain path, we encountered a choice; another paved road careened to the right. I slowed and considered my options. The road straight before us continued with the neatly painted sidelines. The road to the right was bare pavement. I didn’t hesitate long; the marked road would obviously take me home. I continued past neatly manicured Panamanian houses … obvious signs of more civilization to come. I crossed a fairly modern bridge; surely this was the right path. A young boy playing at the edge of the river, smiled grandly and welcomed us with and enthusiastic wave. The pristine lined pavement climbed a gentle hill … and ended abruptly in an open field. A fifteen point turn in the narrow lane allowed us to retrace our course. On the other side of that gentle hill, the little smiling scoundrel jumped from behind a tree and shouted. His eyes gleamed merrily with … “I knew you’d be back!” It was indeed the unmarked road that led us home. It was filled with deep depressions, steep climbs, hairpin turns and … awesome beauty. If you like scenic drives, you owe it to yourself to find this path.
Our trip down the nicely lined dead-end path cost us only a few minutes. There are other path choices with infinitely more serious consequences. It is so attractive to take the clearly marked paths in life, even in our beliefs. Sometimes though, the road less marked … the road that looks more challenging is the right road. Jesus warned His hearers about choosing the easy path,
“You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.”  
Matthew 7:13-14 (NLT)