Illustrating the Two Ways of Life

A bit of color in the misty mountains.“Enter ye in at the strait gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” On a recent biking adventure, Jonathan and I experienced an illustration of the narrow way and the broad way mentioned in Matthew 7:13-14.

Stopping for a break after crossing Buckeye CreekAs we unloaded the bikes from the van, we more than noticed the continual drizzle of rain falling from a lead sky. It wasn’t going to stop anytime soon. Notwithstanding, Jonathan and I headed off down the water-soaked path of the North Bend Rail Trail in hopes of witnessing some of the spectacular sights of the wild and wonderful countryside of northern West Virginia in autumn. There really wasn’t much to see at first, especially when we reached the end of town. Here the trail entered a deep valley where, after days of rain and years of plant growth, the path was muddy, rocky, and slippery. Trenches on either side, filled to the brim with water, weren’t very reassuring. Surrounded by the ugly undergrowth on the steep walls around us, I never once stopped to take a picture. There isn’t much to take pictures of in the narrow way; it’s not physically appealing.

The broad way leads to destruction.

Finally we left the despondent valley and a few hours later arrived at one of the trail’s landmarks: Tunnel #4. It very much reminded me of the broad The blackness was intense.way and wide gate. The entrance was huge. It wasn’t exactly inviting but the Point of decision.steep walls surrounding it offered no other alternative. Within was a shelter from the rain and enough light to walk safely … for the first few yards. The 846 foot long tunnel was deceptive. The farther you walked, the smaller the entrance became while the looming exit never changed size. And it was so dark that neither pit nor snare could be detected should any have been prepared.

Though I was soaking wet, my camera was high and dry in its case under my jacket.Needless to say, I stopped to take many pictures of this wide “gate”. Even though it is a gloomy subject, it was inviting to the sense of adventure and pleasing to the eye. Similarly, the broad way of life is filled with people who are allured by that which appeals the physical senses. Because the narrow way deals with worshiping God in spirit, let us heed Christ’s warning to “watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak” (Mark 14:38).


  1. Joshua, Hannah, and Markie November 14, 2007 at 6:26 pm #

    Hannah’s favorite photo was the first one. Markie’s was the second. Joshua liked the fourth photo (the darkness was intense).

    Excellent reminder James. We were just listening to Pilgrim’s Progress on Sunday. Your pictures remind me of when Christian and Hopeful removed themselves from the narrow way and sought a more convenient path. When the rains and storms of life hit, they quickly ran under Giant Despair’s safe shelter. Both ways appeared fine at the critical ‘point of decision.’ May God give us discernment and a listening heart!

  2. Donald November 15, 2007 at 5:17 pm #

    Thank you for that reminder James.

  3. David November 16, 2007 at 11:20 am #

    We were listening to the Pilgrim’s Progress too while we processed a deer that a friend of a friend of ours shot with a bow. What a coincidence!

  4. Daniel November 16, 2007 at 11:27 am #

    I agree with the Wilkes: all those pictures are excellent, James! David and Jonathan’s favorite picture was the 3rd one, but my personal favorite was the 5th one, depicting Jonathan hesitating in front of the looming entrance to the darkness! Great perspective.

  5. Robert November 20, 2007 at 3:46 pm #

    Great pictures James! My favorite was definitely “Point of Decision”. It almost reminds me of a Norman Rockwell picture as I feel the bigness of the cave, the littleness of the person, and the question that was at the forefront of my own mind when I stood in that same place many years ago.

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