Friday, March 3, 2017


"But he knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold. My foot has held fast to his steps; I have kept his way and have not turned aside."

We had an unexpectedly warm and beautiful day here last week and my husband also got an unexpected day off.  Neither of us could imagine staying inside; so we decided to go on a hike. The Appalachian Trail is a just a short drive from our house. We grabbed the baby carrier/hiking pack and headed out.  About an hour into the trip I suddenly realized I had absolutely no idea where we were, but since the trail is pretty beaten down I was quite positive that I knew where I was going. Much to my surprise, my husband told me I was headed in the wrong direction.

"What are you talking about?  Look at the path, it's right here in front of me?" I said.

To which he replied, "Look up, you're missing all the trail markers...they mark the path and it turns and goes over there," pointing in the opposite direction I was headed. 

We both laughed but then it occurred to me that had I been out hiking with someone who didn't know that, I would have very confidently lost them in the middle of hundreds of acres of forest. I have a friend whose father is a ranger, and they get calls from time to time from frightened, inexperienced hikers who have lost their way. The markers along the trail are painted onto trees and rocks and are in plain sight, but I wasn't looking for them. My head was down watching each step and rock and occasionally looking up to admire the view. 

I'm sure this analogy isn't lost on you. Sometimes I am so absorbed in the care of my child that my spirit is head-down examining every step. I occasionally look up to admire life and then get back to business. If I'm not careful, I can forget to look up and follow the markers. God's word is FULL of markers. It keeps us safe from all kinds of evil and unseen dangers that come from giving into temptation, and it directs us toward HIS steps. Job reminds us in 23:10-11 that we are sometimes tried and refined as we follow him in obedience. Psalm 119:105 says, "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." Time in God's Word is the trail blaze that tells us how to follow him. Jesus himself tells us what this requires in Matthew 16:24, "Then Jesus told his disciples, 'If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me."

I'm reminded this week not to focus so intently on the needs and demands of my children, that I completely miss the mark as to where God is asking me to go. Raising our special children is just another opportunity to look to Christ to lead us in each and every step of this journey. Holding fast to verses like Psalm 119:165, "Great peace have those who love your law; nothing can make them stumble," helps us to deny ourselves and take up our cross to follow Him. 

It was a spectacular view at the top. I'm thrilled had my husband to laugh with me and keep me on the right path so that I could enjoy it. I'm not sure being lost and alone in the middle of a forest could even compare to what we saw.  

Father God,  help me to surround myself with people who consistently point me to you.  Keep me in your Word, and direct my steps as I follow you. Give me the strength to deny myself and to take up my cross. I'm grateful that you promise great peace to those who love your law. 

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