Remember the story of Hansel and Gretel? It’s a scary one, but it’s one that we tell our kids so that they don’t succumb to temptation or run off in the mall and get lost. But do you remember the part about the breadcrumbs? Hansel put down breadcrumbs behind her so they could find their way back home. But, unlike the little white pebbles he had used previously, the breadcrumbs were eaten by the hungry birds of the forest. So, as dad abandoned them to the dark, dreary forest, Hansel and Gretel were lost.
But imagine for a moment that the breadcrumbs had remained. Where would it have led them? Home. Granted, in this particular story, home was a dysfunctional mess with a spineless dad and evil, selfish stepmother, but it was home nonetheless.
In past generations he allowed all the nations to walk in their own ways. Yet he did not leave himself without witness, for he did good by giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.” -Acts 14:16-17
What if you stopped where you are in your life right now, and took a few minutes to look at the path behind you. What do you see? Surely you see some good times, full of joy and accomplishment. You also tragedy, disappointment, fear, and regret. They are all part of the human experience.
Now look again. Look closer. Do you notice any breadcrumbs? Can you see them?
See, I think that if we have the eyes to see, there is a trail of breadcrumbs along the path we’ve trod that is leading us back somewhere. And I think that somewhere is home. Home to a God who loves us, who has died for us, and who is wooing us to Himself. He is bringing us back home to safety, to contentment, to joy.
As Paul is preaching the gospel in Greece, the people begin to think they are their gods in human form. But Paul yells at them and shows them their nonsense. He tells them they the true, living God has allowed them to make their own choices, but in the midst of everyone’s path of life, there have been clues to who God is and how He loves us. Paul says, “he did not leave himself without witness, for he did good by giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.” God has left us some breadcrumbs, tiny clues that communicate to us that He is wooing us toward Himself.
When my wife and I were dating, I did something very sweet for her. She was about to start a new semester of college, and I wanted to show her how much I cared for her and supported her in her new adventure. I bought her some school supplies; pens, pink notebooks, an eraser (not that she makes mistakes) among other items. I bought flowers and wrote encouraging notes and placed them on a path from where she parked her car, up her front steps, up the stairs and into her room, where she found the presents waiting on her bed. I had left a series of tiny clues that communicated how I felt about her; that I was wooing her to myself.
So, if you look back, if you look back really hard, you can probably begin to see some of those crumbs. Maybe you grew up in a great home with parents who took you to church, or you had a youth pastor, teacher, or coach who positively invested in you. Perhaps you’ve recovered from addiction or gotten a marriage or relationship on track. Perhaps its something as simple as you’ve found a church you love or you have a neighbor who invites to her bible study. Whatever it is (and it probably way more than one), you can be sure that they lead you back Home.
So what are the breadcrumbs in your life? What tiny clues has God left along your path to lead you to Him? My prayer is that you will have the eyes to see them, and run Home.