“This is what the LORD says: ‘Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’” (Jeremiah 6:16).

“If you write conviction, elaine, you’d better live conviction or else be prepared for conviction to find its way to your table.”

God’s message to me in my spirit moments ago. Fast and certain and with resolute clarity while I was washing my face. I kept repeating it for fear that I would forget it before finding my pen. It happens sometimes. God impresses his thoughts upon my heart, and I cannot help but give them ample room to grow. To breathe their depth as I take the time to unpack them before God and his Word.

Tonight I unpack them alongside the prophet Jeremiah’s pen as he scripted God’s heart to a people who had lost their way. To God’s dearly beloved, who were instructed to stand at the crossroads and to examine the path before them. Behind them. To the left and to the right of them, and then to ask God for his directional good—those ancient paths that secured safe passage to his place of rest.

His heart.

It would have been easy for them to find their way home if they had been willing to stand at the crossroads. But they weren’t, they didn’t, and consequently, they found themselves on the road toward a restless exile and a formidable captivity. Nothing good and certainly no rest came for those who were adamant to keep walking without pausing at the crossroads.

God’s crossroads, not theirs.

We all come to a crossroads at least once in our lives. Some of us, multiple times. Whether we mean it or not, we are quick to mouth its refrain.

(I’m standing at a crossroads, and I don’t know what to do. Where to turn. What path to take. What wisdom to choose.)

I understand. I’ve said as much even this day. But there is a danger in our paying lip service to our crossroads. As God’s children, dearly loved and carefully protected, when we come to a crossroads in our journey, he asks more of us than simply an approach to the process. He means for us to fully engage with its truth.

To come to the center of the matter. Where beam meets beam. Where horizontal hammers into vertical. Where wood and nails collide. Where faith and flesh intersect to bleed the witness of a sacred juncture.

When we do that … when we stand smack dab in the middle of Christ’s crossroads … it is easy to discern the good and ancient path that will secure us safe passage to God’s rest. When we center our lives at the heart of his willing sacrifice, no matter the direction we turn—whether before or behind, to the left or to the right—we are bathed in the lavish cover of a Father’s love.

We are reminded of just how far he traveled on our behalf so that we, like the ancients of old, could find our way home.

The problem? Many of us never make it that far. We choose the perimeter of the cross because, quite frankly, the center bleeds too red. Too messy and too fully. We deem our standing at the cross with Jesus as enough; but God calls each one of us to something greater.

He asks for us to stand in the crossroads with him.

Then, and only then, will we be able to measure the worth of God’s intended rest and peace for our lives. It’s a peace I want for always. My heart’s desire is to walk the path of the ancients and to rest in God’s good as I go.

Thus, this night I write the conviction of my heart. I am prepared to live its depth so that conviction doesn’t re-visit my lip service with the poke and prod of a Father’s hurt.

Tonight I am willing to walk to Calvary because I feel deeply in need of doing so. In many ways, I seem to be standing at a crossroads. There are decisions to be made. Big ones. Ones that not only involve my future, but ones that also include the future of those whom I love the most.

Rather than stand at the perimeter of the cross, I’m going in. To its center in order to stand where Christ has stood and to receive the cleansing truth of my salvation. I believe that my vision will be clearer there. That wisdom will be more readily available, and that the path of the ancients will present itself so that I might walk in it and receive God’s good and needful rest.

Perhaps, like me, you’re sensing the need to walk your heart toward a deeper point of surrender. Your life is at a crossroads, and the only thing you’re certain of is your uncertainty about what lies ahead. Would you join me on the road as we walk the beams of our Savior’s bloody surrender until we come to the heart of the matter? Would you, this day, be willing to live your convictions all the way into the center of his sacrifice? If so, then may the prayer of my heart belong to you as well…

Father, your cross is serious business. Forgive me for thinking that I can stand at a distance and see clearly the path that you would have me to follow. Thank you for the conviction that leads me into the center of your surrender and that baths me in the truth of your love. Baptize my feeble understanding with your wisdom that bleeds pure and true and full of insight so that I can find my way through the chaos that is pressing in ever so tightly and so certain. Bring me to your crossroads in my many matters, and show me the path of the ancients. Keep me, then, to that secure path until I find my way to your heart and to your good and promised rest for my journey. You are my life’s end. Bring me safely to my perfected conclusion. Amen.

Copyright © January 2009 – Elaine Olsen. All rights reserved.


PS: Friends, I ask for your prayers tonight, not just for me but for all who are standing at a crossroads and need the widsom of a standing “in” with Jesus at the helm. If you’re struggling and you need a friend, please feel free to email me your thoughts or leave a request in the comment section. To read an excellent post about conviction, please visit LauraLee for further thought and inspiration. Shalom.

24 Responses to Crossroads

  1. Elaine, I think most of us have experienced the feeling of our only certainty being our uncertainty. That’s when I try to remember Prov. 3:5-6 and trust in Him with all my heart and lean not on my own understanding, but in all my ways acknowledge Him and trust Him to direct my paths. He promises He will.

    You are in my prayers — specifically praying the passage in Proverbs for you. God bless!

  2. Believe it or not, Elaine, I am at a crossroads of sorts. I still plan to blog about it, but I can’t put it in words yet. When I do, I will definitely have to reference this post. I was recently asked by the Lord to give up my ministry leadership position at the church. That passionate thing that I’d been doing there for 7 years and for 18 years total (other churches combined) just gone. It’s a very emotional time. I’ve also been asked to consider going on a missions trip to Cambodia in November to lead the children’s portion of the trip. Do I stay or do I go? (okay, now I have that 80s song in my head). So many great things, so many worthy ways to spend my time…yet here I stand. “Which way, Lord?” We’ll just have to wait, wait patiently for Him, because He already sees around the bend. Can’t wait to see too! Even if it’s just a few feet glimpse ahead!

    YOu are an amazing teacher, Elaine. If you ever speak in Texas, will you let me know?

  3. Elaine, my prayers are with you as you stand in the crossroad and wait on the Lord to direct your paths. I know he will continue to speak to you and guide you.

    Sometimes things that should seem so clear to us, are the things that are hardest to see. I am confident in the fact that God, with his “god” vision will continue to reveal his truths to you.

    Love you!

    Lori B. from Brewster

  4. Elaine, it was this same crossroads that brought me to the place of surrender just prior to the end of last year. (You know the post I’m referring to here.)

    Without crossroads heart decisions aren’t made. Although they are difficult they are needed to draw us closer to the Lord. They are not easy, but choosing to trust strengthens our faith. When there is cause for concern, that’s going to be where our faith is tested.

    Praying for you my friend. My heart is heavily burdened for you. Psalm 112 says, “They do not fear bad news; they confidently trust the LORD to care for them.” He’s holding you my friend and caring for your every need. He knows the path to take. Take His hand and let Him guide you there.

    Love, prayers and hugs,

  5. I will add you to my Fearless Friday Meme and Prayer Journal that I have started for those that have asked for prayers. Matthew 18:18-20 my beloved.

  6. One rarely hears that particular scripture from Jeremiah quoted, but it has long been a personal favorite.

    I am buoyed by the gift of Ancient Path-walking, as though some marvelous trail & trek would have me rubbing shoulders with the likes of the Ancients themselves … Abraham, Sarah, Ruth, Deborah – and so many others.

    I am amazed that I could actually NOT walk those paths, as if by some stubborn, Eeyore-type malady I'm averse to actually "going".

    This is such a rich subject because it is so-o-o-o at the heart of the human condition. My way? His way? It seems so simple. It is anything but!

    God bless you, my dear – and all of us who long for that Ancient Path yet find reluctance tethering us to some lessor road.


  7. Auhhhh, you are my favorite eathly teacher. I sit this morning discouraged. As I had my quiet time and journaled I realized that maybe, just maybe I may be at a crossroads and I felt lead to come here. My lesson with the youth last night, to me, didn’t seem to go as I had prepared and I am not sure as God had intended. Or are those just the thoughts of satan? Do I teach or should I just stand back and serve…I pray that my life would produce fruit…is that what I am called to? So I will have the time to spend this morning in silence and listen for His words.

    I am entering this cross, the center of this cross with you. I have already entered.

    In His Graces~Pamela

  8. I needed this encouragement so much today, Elaine. I am at a crossroads of sorts myself. God has given me the verse Jeremiah 29:11 several times this week to encourage my discouraged soul. It’s a long, boring, tired story, so I won’t torture you with my shortcomings, but I seem to find myself at the same exact “crossroads” over and over again.
    Thank you for sharing your own walk with the Lord and for encouraging me.

    In Christ,

  9. God bless you Elaine as you go through this time. I know I have been at my crossroad this past year. It isn’t easy to do or write about sometimes. Thank you for putting into words again what many of us need to read.

  10. Hi Elaine!

    Your words are so rich…wow.

    And as to my next journalistic endeavor…I’ll sign your copy in white chocolate and wrap it with a nutella bow. 🙂

  11. Lord,

    Please be with Elaine. Help her to walk in your ways. Whatever decisions she is facing, give her Godly wisdom and peace. Thank you for allowing her to lead us to the center of your cross. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.


  12. Elaine,

    This beats with my heart:

    “If you write conviction, elaine, you’d better live conviction or else be prepared for conviction to find its way to your table.”

    Gonna chew on it awhile!


  13. If for no other reason, you penned this post to remind me that I am where I am for a reason. Thank you for being so obedient.

    P.S. I’m waiting to taste a bit of Grace’s next journalistic endeavor!

    Love, hugs and blessings from the creek!

  14. So powerful, friend. I will pray. For me, it requires surrender every day to step deeper into the cross.That place where it bleeds too red. Sometimes I don’t have the courage to go there.

    I love your heart.


  15. Elaine, how you please your Father… when you seek Him at your crossroads… He longs to answer you!

  16. Incredibly powerful and thought-provoking. You are absolutely in my prayers, as well as those in that same place. I pray also that I would be of the same mind when I am at the crossroads. I will refer back to this post – of that I am certain!

  17. Wow, this is powerful. Definitely gonna bookmark this one.

    “To come to the center of the matter. Where beam meets beam. Where horizontal hammers into vertical. Where wood and nails collide. Where faith and flesh intersect to bleed the witness of a sacred juncture.”

    Again, wow. No fluffy feel-good Christianity here. This is anointed.

  18. Hey Elaine, think you must have prayed for me..had a meltdown prayer time with God…so glad…I love being in His Presence alone…hope you have a blessed time with your family this is snowing and very cold here right now…do take care…
    I so appreciate your gentle really ‘gets to me’..thank you for loving me, Elaine…

  19. What a powerful, passionate post! When I stand at the crossroads, my tendency is to look for the easy route…the shortcut. Hmmm…the easy route requires little, if any, conviction. Thanks for opening my eyes.

    You are truly a blessing to me, Elaine. I praise God for your friendship.

    Praying for you…

  20. Hey Mrs. Elaine, I have been too, at a crossroads, and I want to take the way the leads to HIM. If something is beyond our ability, it forces us to go to Him to get our ability, which really came from Him to begin with. Therefore we acknowledge our Source of life, and life more abundantly:)

    Bless you Mrs. Elaine,


  21. May the Lord meet you in your crossroads with His divine wisdom and leadership. Keep seeking hard after Him, sister!

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