When the image slams me yet again, it's always like a nightmare in roaring intensity and heart-pounding emotions.
The path lies before me, the way scrubbed neatly down to smooth dirt and gently winding through the meadow. But this meadow has been overgrown by weeds. Black jagged leaves hang along the path and determined vines creep along the edges.
As I walk, I hear toothy growls from the thick chaos along the edges, throaty snarls that threaten. I get a flash of a yellow eye, a white fang.
This path seems frightening. I'm like David, who wrote, "Be gracious to me, Lord, for I am weak; heal me, Lord, for my bones are shaking; my whole being is shaken with terror." (Psalms 6:2-3)
But I remember, as he remembered, that there are no weeds on the path. No monsters have pierced its walls. When I stay on the path, I feel the warmth of the sun and the sweet scent of blossoms.
David sorted this out, too. He wrote: "The Lord has heard my plea for help; the Lord accepts my prayer. All my enemies will be ashamed and shake with terror; they will turn back and suddenly be disgraced." (Psalms 6:9-10)
Our enemies can't enter God's path. We are safe in his presence.
The obvious conclusion: stay on the path.