Last week, my husband, Brian and I and celebrated our 12 year anniversary by playing hooky from church to go on a long hike. It was a beautiful fall day, and we decided to tackle the “Grand Loop Trail” at Jockey Hollow National Park. It’s 6.5 miles, so we packed a lunch, set our mind to a several hour hike along with our Australian Cattle Dog, Psycho Dog (aka Foxy, aka the Smart One) and the Golden Retriever, Normal Dog (aka Lucy, aka the Pretty One).
Most trails we hike are single track, and Psycho Dog typically wants to be in the lead. Since Brian is her “person”, he takes her and I take Lucy (I’m Lucy’s “person”). This means that more often than not, I’m relegated to bringing up the rear, so I can’t usually see much more than about 2 feet in front of me. Brian is my announcer-“Joggers coming.” or “Hikers coming with two dogs.” This means, “Put the dogs onto a very short leash and pull over.” because Psycho dog doesn’t like most people or dogs, and Normal Dog acts as if she has never seen anyone ever before and is thrilled to make human or canine contact. They both need to be reeled in.
I told Brian at one point last week when he alerted me to something like tree roots in the path, that I can’t see more than two feet in front of me, so even though his commentaries were seemingly silly and needless, I did actually appreciate them. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have known what was ahead.
It was at that moment, on the trail, that I realized that is exactly where God wants me. If I am to follow God-I mean, really follow Him, it means that I most likely won’t know what to expect until it happens. He desires for me NOT to know the outcome of a circumstance or a situation. Otherwise, why would I need to trust in Him? What would I need faith for?
My husband’s proclamations were not unlike those of God-all I needed to do was to walk behind him, look at the trail right before me, and listen to what he says. To trust that Brian would alert me when I needed to know what to expect ahead.
God is like that. In Psalm 119:105, the psalmist states, “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” Most of us have heard some teaching at one point or another in our lives on this verse; something like “How far does a lantern light? Not far-just enough to light where you’re putting your next step. That requires a lot of faith!” True—but there is more that verse, that psalm. First, it’s a very long psalm-176 verses! Try memorizing that one!
I started to count how many times the words “precepts,” “laws,” “words,” “decrees,” “promises,” “commands,” “ways,” or “righteousness” appeared in that psalm. I lost count, but noticed something else instead. With the exception of maybe 2 or 3 verses, EVERY VERSE uses one of those words! The whole psalm is about taking delight in and coming under the authority of God!
Whether it is lighting the path before me, letting me know that the trail continues this way; walk in it, stay close to God so you don’t get lost…or whether it’s trusting the Voice ahead to alert me of who or what is coming my way, and maybe I need to confront it, maybe I need to get on a short leash with God and pull over…the bottom line is that His Word and His Ways, His Precepts and His Promises, His Commands and His Laws are there to help me (v173), to give me delight (v174), to sustain me (v175), to deliver me (v153, 170), for my understanding (v169), for my salvation (v166) as I walk the path with my God.
He is near (v151). How could I want to be anywhere but close? Why would I choose to know what lies ahead when it is more pleasant and peaceful to know what lies just in front of me? It’s far more exciting to enjoy the journey, knowing that my Protector will alert me of what I need to do when faced with opposition! That’s called trust. He will give me what I need when I need it. That’s called grace.
For you NJ Hikers-try this: Although it’s 6.5 miles, we actually did it in just over 2!
Grand Loop Trail
Worship Song of the Day