My family loves to go on hikes. We are blessed to live a hop, skip, and a jump from the state park and like to hit the trails there when the weather is nice and we have the time. Our friend/youth minister, Daniel, loves it even more than we do, and goes every chance he gets, taking the youth with him as often as possible.
There’s just something about spending time in nature that brings you closer to God. But that’s not exactly the direction I’m headed in this time.
Think about your walk with God. You ever seen this image, or at least something similar?
It depicts how we think things should go – smooth and easy – versus the path God leads us down – looks more like an obstacle course. But it’s even more than that.
A lot of times, our walk with God ends up looking like a walking track. We go in circles on flat paved ground. We get in our groove, looking at the same sights, passing the same people, over and over again. Sure, we may have to pause and take a breather. We might get a rock in our shoe, or get tripped up and skin our knee. Someone new might show up and walk with us. But essentially we are walking and walking and walking and not really getting anywhere or getting much good out of it. Just maybe some shin splints and a little sweat.
Or maybe it’s more like a NASCAR track. “Left turn, left turn, straight, left turn, left turn, straight, left turn…” Racing through as fast as we can, seeing only the concrete and asphalt surrounding us, speeding toward the finish line.
Even worse, maybe you’re stuck on a treadmill. You ain’t going anywhere at all, and the scenery never changes. Just stomping on that belt as it cycles round and round.
I look at my walk with God more like a hike up the mountain. The trail winds back and forth, up and down. Some places it is barely wide enough to make out and walk through single file; others it is spacious and we can bunch together. You can’t always see what is coming ahead around the trees and the twists and turns, but you trust the path. It isn’t always easy. As you tackle those steep inclines, your calves burn, and so do your lungs. Then it levels out for a minute before dipping back down so you almost slide along out of control. There are dangers to watch for, but there are also beautiful sights to behold. Some trails you can navigate alone, but others you may need a guide for. Sometimes it feels like you might be lost, even though you know you’re still on the trail, but then it breaks open and the view is spectacular and you know you are right where you are supposed to be. And when you get to the top and see where God has led you….oh man, you know it was worth it.