Have you ever been hiking and suddenly wonder, “Am I still on the right path?”
That happened to us, this past weekend, as our family took a mini-vacay to the Blue Ridge Mountains. We ventured on a few hikes, from slightly strenuous to easy walking, and found reasons to love each one. At one point, however, as we trudged through untrodden growth up to our knees, we began to question if perhaps we’d taken a wrong turn and missed the mark. It was a heavily wooded area, thick with foliage, and easy enough to get lost.
Yet it felt right, and we had maintained the same general direction, so we kept moving in faith.
Sure enough, once we’d gotten through the unmarked wilderness, we spotted the blue paint smeared across a tree to indicate that we were where we were supposed to be.
That’s how it is on hikes, if you’re not familiar. Every so often, there is a splash of paint on a tree, color coded by trail, to let you know you’ve stayed the course. That’s how it is in life, too. Sometimes, you have to take steps in faith that aren’t easily revealed simply because you believe you’re moving in the right direction.
As we make our way from point A to point B, on a hike or in our lives, we’re going to find ourselves on a variety of terrain ranging from “easy to navigate” to “can’t even tell if there’s a path here anymore.”
Markers are there to reassure and redirect.
God’s word is the marker for our lives.
It’s fun and pressure free when you’re moving forward on a smooth, paved path with street lamps and guardrails and signs along the way; walking with a sure way to go and little to no opportunity to veer off course.
But how will you handle it when you’re in the wilderness? When you’re navigating paths that have never been traveled upon, twisting your ankle on unseen rocks, tripping and faltering over protruding tree roots?
When you fall to your knees as the ground beneath your feet gives way, forcing you dangerously close to the side of the cliff and more bumps and bruises than you signed up for?
When you’re distracted from your current “mission” by a beautiful butterfly that flew in front of you and teased your eyes away from the task at hand?
Here’s the important thing to remember: there are a lot of ways to get from where you are to where you’re going. Sometimes you know the right way, and other times you’re left searching through the thick fog for one glimpse of the next marker. But always, always, no matter how many missteps you take or accidental side trails you find yourself on, the marker never changes and it never moves.
Don’t take another step without locating the marker and resetting your course accordingly.
God is our guidepost, the Holy Spirit is our compass, and Jesus is the One who will pick us up when the wrong step brings us to our knees.
Mistakes will be made. Wrong paths will be taken. You’re going to run into both unimaginable pain and unbelievable beauty. And as long as you remain in the Word and the Truth, as long as your heart remains soft to God’s teaching and open to His rebuke, as long as you seek a relationship with the Almighty and strive to do the best you can with what you can see and all that you cannot… He will always steer you back onto the correct trail.
And He may even give you a breathtaking waterfall to admire while He’s getting you there.
How does this message relate to your life journey?