Sent: November 11, 2002
Subject: Robert Frost: Poet or Preacher?
Good Morning Ethan & Emily:
I remember attending a drama and poetry workshop at Southwestern University in San Marcos, TX, during my high school years.
During the course of the week, some of the poems we discussed were by Robert Frost. I remember two particularly well: “The Road Not Taken” and “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.” As we tend to do when “analyzing” literature, we came up with all kinds of complicated meanings and insights for these poems…to which I remember our instructor relating that Mr. Frost had once stated that he was amazed at all the “deep” commentaries that had been written about his poetry, as he often had nothing of the sort in mind…but was only expressing simple thoughts…and no more!
In “The Road Not Taken” a traveler is confronted with a choice on the road he was traveling, as the one road split into two roads going in different directions. After a brief moment of contemplation, the traveler decided on the “one less traveled by” and he ends by saying “And that has made all the difference.”
Speaking not for Mr. Frost (as I don’t want to add to the “commentary proliferation) but for myself only, these passages remind me that we as Christians also face “road choices” almost daily.
The most important one of all is that which determines our eternal destiny. In Matt. 7:14 Jesus states: “But the gateway to life is small, and the road is narrow, and only a few ever find it.” What He meant here is not that it is difficult to become a Christian but that there is only one way to God..and that is though belief in His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.
Living a genuine life of obedience is not popular in today’s Christian culture of compromise. It is a “road less traveled” but it is the road that leads to blessing and joy. Because we want to honor our Lord, each day our prayer should be as the Psalmist states in Ps. 25:4: “Show me the path where I should walk, O LORD; point out the right road for me to follow.”
One way we can know what “road” to take is by reading and studying God’s Word each day. Our request to God should be the same as the Psalmist: “Guide my steps by your Word…” (Ps. 119:133). As we pray daily and study His Word, we will be able to “Follow in His steps.” (1 Peter 2:21).
Obedience validates our love for the Lord, and as we follow God’s commands, we can also have confidence in knowing that the choices we make are according to God’s will: “The steps of the godly are directed by the Lord.” (Ps. 37:23). Note that this assurance comes only as we have lives that would be characterized as “godly.” We may not always understand why God is leading us in a particular direction, but we can trust that God knows best and that His timing is never off. “How can we understand the road we travel? It is the Lord who directs our steps.” (Prov. 20:24)
My favorite scriptural passage also gives direction for staying on the “right” road in life: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will direct your paths.” (Prov. 3:5-6 NLT).
We will also stay on the right “road” as we model our lives after those who love the Lord and who faithfully serve Him. This pertains to the kinds of friends we have as well. The writer of Proverbs admonishes us: “Follow the steps of good men…, and stay on the paths of the righteous.” (Prov. 2: 20).
Other interesting verses that pertain to road choices are:
Prov. 14:2: “Those who follow the right path fear the Lord…”
Isaiah 26:7: “But for those who are righteous, the path is not steep and rough. You are a God of justice, and you smooth out the road ahead of them.”
Jer. 6:16: So now the LORD says, “Stop right where you are! Look for the old, godly way, and walk in it. Travel its path, and you will find rest for your souls.
I couldn’t agree more. We have become so politically correct and standards so compromised that it is more difficult than ever to remain faithful and live a life of true obedience. But it’s worth it. As the Psalmist declares to the Lord in Ps. 31: 19: “Your goodness is so great! You have stored up great blessings for those who honor you.”
Robert Frost would not have identified himself as a preacher by any means, but as a great poet he touched on themes that do have relevance to us as Christians today. As we make road choices, let’s take the “one less traveled,” and as we look back over our life years into the future, we will be able to declare with Mr. Frost that that choice has “made all the difference.”
Have a great day,