Self-preservation is the motivation behind choosing the "way that seems right to a man." People want to be safe, comfortable, and secure. In the life of the Christian, some sort of provision is always tagged with God's imaginary stamp of approval as a cover up for faithlessness. More times than not, the path of certainty is the path that many a wandering soul has followed because that particular path offered "provision" for the immediate need of the current season. It is likely that this is backward thinking and completely off base as compared to how human beings were created to operate. It is accurate enough to go as far as to say that any decision where provision is expected to precede faith is very likely the wrong decision. Simply put, faith always precedes provision. The path of uncertainty is rarely the path that is followed simply because it appears to offer no tangible solution to the current situation or need; it is a path that appears dim to the natural eye. To the eye of faith, however, it's reward illuminates beyond the horizon of natural eyesight. The eye of faith looks at nothing but God, to a city that has foundations. What if faith isn't safe?
The real travesty of the whole matter is the fact that many Christians are missing out on the immeasurable manifestation of God's goodness in their lives. They're content with the green shrubbery of Sodom and the lavish delicacies of Egypt, but the soul in search of Canaan sojourns as a pilgrim and stranger on the earth. Bank accounts fatten up, houses are purchased, insurance policies are taken out for everything imaginable (because God forbid there is no return on any potential loss), and the cares of this life infect the mind to the point of spiritual blindness to the reality of what faith actually looks like. How does the Christian that is blessed differ from the unbeliever that seems to be equally blessed? The folks of Sodom and Gomorrah were certainly enjoying the same pleasures that Lot and his family were enjoying, but that did not make them people of faith (they were far from it!). The only quality that separates the Christian from the unbeliever in regards to provision is faith; anybody with a bit of common sense and motivation can be successful, but only a Christian can walk by faith and trust God. God help! How often is God's best ignored and replaced with the world's carnal blueprint for success and provision.
The story of Abraham and Lot is actually a good, Biblical reference for the matter at hand. Lot was no different from Abraham in that he also left all that he had to go to a land that God would show Abraham. It is important to remember here the words of our Lord, "many are called but few are chosen," which can be re-stated as, "many go in the way but few go all the way." Lot was blessed with cattle and monetary possessions just like Abraham was. Then, after moving in the right direction for a while, Lot came to a crucial crossroads that went on to shape the rest of his life. When given the opportunity to go to the "right or to the left," Lot chose the way of Sodom rather than the way of Canaan. Lot, who's cattle had multiplied to a comparable size as Abraham's, chose the way of Sodom because it offered the best situation for his current need; it was a place well-watered, like the Garden of the Lord. It is implied here that Sodom may have appeared to be more favorable to the eye than the land of Canaan. As the story goes, Abraham continued to sojourn and Lot turned aside to Sodom. Not long after, Sodom was a heap of ashes and Lot was left without a home. In the process of fleeing the destruction (thanks to Abraham's intercession), Lot's wife was turned into a pillar of salt because she looked back.
What if Lot would have sold his cattle and followed Abraham? What if he would have gone somewhere other than Sodom? Would his wife still be alive? Would his children have devoted their lives to God, following the example of their relative Abraham? This is the eternal what if that can be discussed only through the filter of speculation and theory. Lot was given another chance to choose God's best when he fled Sodom. God said, "flee to the mountains and don't look back." The mountains were dangerous, they were a place of uncertainty and mystery. For that reason, Lot requested that God let him and his two daughters "turn aside" to the land of Zoar, because, "it is very small." In Lot's mind, there was very little to fear in Zoar because it was so small; it was safe. Walking by sight rather than walking by faith will always lead to small places that offer not eternal satisfaction. What is amazing is the fact that Lot was actually communicating with God; this tells that it is possible to communicate with God and still choose the wrong path. Eventually, Lot was afraid to remain in little Zoar and left to live in the mountains with his two daughters. The story takes a bizarre turn as Lot, in a drunken state, is manipulated to sleep with each of his two daughters who become impregnated by their father.
It is easy to see that the result of Lot's decisions was certainly far from God's best; however, God allowed them anyway. The truth is that most people will do what they want to do because that is what they want to do. There is no deep, philosophical explanation that is needed to explain why. Now and then, some unassuming, naïve, wanderer picks up a Bible and reads about men like Moses (who esteemed the reproach of Christ to be of greater value than Egypt's riches), and Daniel (who refused to eat the king's meat), and Paul (who sacrificed a life of stability and worldly success for the sake of the cross) - and then that man goes and lives the way of the brave souls of the centuries past; he goes the way of uncertainty that few will choose to follow. And as that man follows the lonely path, not expecting a soul to join him because he knows the cost of that path, a stranger with eyes of fire and a voice of raging seas meets him along the way. Now imagine that stranger puts his arm around the brave, yet lonely wanderer, he brings his mouth close to the wanderer's ear and whispers in a still, small voice, "I'm with you to the end." Invigorated by the voice that echoes beyond the cosmos to worlds unknown, and into human hearts that are either listening or ignoring, the wanderer sets his eyes on the uncertain horizon and presses on to a place that only God can see. Goodbye what if, and hello eternity.