I love to go on hikes with my family. What I have learned is that there are several things that you need to make sure you have with you on your journey. The most important of these items is a map of where you are going. But here is the thing about hiking: even with the greatest preparation, sometimes the path can be difficult. Sometimes it can be filled with lots of twists and turns. Sometimes it can have some challenging hills to climb. It can exhaust you and make you feel like you can’t continue. Sometimes it can have obstacles in the path, like large rocks or deep crevasses that we have to get past. And sometimes it can feel like the path will never end. Yet the hike is also filled with great beauty and peace, and when you finish, a great sense of accomplishment.
Life is one of the greatest journeys that we will ever go on. We need to make sure that we are prepared for the wonder and difficulty of the journey before us. One of my favorite verses is found in Proverbs 3:5-6. It says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Trusting and submitting are not always easy things to do. We live in a society where we are taught to trust ourselves. We are told that we need to do what we want to do and trust OUR hearts. Yet God calls us to do something completely different. God wants to be our map through this hike called life. God wants us to submit to what God would have us do. And we can trust God. We can trust The One True Map to guide us through life. No, the hike will not always be easy. The journey will be filled with difficult hills and obstacles to cross. But if we truly trust in God and submit to what God would have us do, then we will be on a journey that will create great beauty and peace in our lives.
On one of these hikes with the family, Jackson (my youngest son) kept running ahead and tripping. His knees were skinned, his cheeks were stained with tears, and he just wanted to quit. He didn’t have the map before him, and he couldn’t see the dangers that were in his path. But when he allowed me to hold his hand and help guide him, his steps became sure and he was able to finish the beautiful hike that we were on. The same is true with God. If we trust God and allow God to lead us, then we will not stumble. “The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand.” (Psalm 37:23-24) Let us trust in God along this journey called life, and may God make the paths before us straight.