James McConkey was a well- known Bible teacher in the early 20th century. While traveling through Europe, he went on a hike with a group of tourists in the awe-inspiring Swiss Alps.

Their experienced guide led them cautiously through dangerous gorges and across treacherous ice fields. At one point he was leading the hikers on a wide detour to ensure their safety. One weary tourist, though, decided he would take a short-cut. He left the pathway and started out on his own. The guide raced after him, tackled him, and dragged him back to the path. Then he explained that the snow over which that tourist intended to walk was a thin crust of ice covering a giant crevasse. That short-cut would have meant a long and deadly plunge deep into the glacier.

Our Guide, the Lord Jesus, knows that if we are to avoid dangers in our pilgrimage, He must sometimes lead us on detours that seem unnecessary. If we decide to leave the pathway of obedience, He may be forced to use painful means to drag us back to spiritual safety (Heb. 12:3-11). Eventually, though, we will understand that our Guide’s discipline was motivated by His protecting care. How thankful we can be for His tough love!