Friday, March 7, 2008

Walking by faith

Lately, my life has reminded me of some of the trails we hiked in Colorado a couple of years ago. It was beautiful, but it did give me many opportunities to learn more about overcoming fear! In fact the whole five day hike seemed like a parable about learning to walk by faith.

Sometimes the trail was so overgrown with grass that we could not see it when we looked ahead. But as we took each step it would open out in front of us a little at a time, just enough to take the next one or two steps.

This memory is especially poignant to me. At the time we had been praying for wisdom to make a difficult decision. I was hoping God would give us a clear word that week about what he wanted us to do and how it would all turn out. But it seemed like God was saying that I just needed to trust and keep moving forward and he would lead us one step at a time. And he did.

There were times the trail was not visible at all and we just had to trust our maps and gps.

Other times the trail would be on the side of a steep mountain. “Death defying” was how one guy described them. I would inch slowly along, afraid to move forward or look down. My fellow hikers patiently encouraged me. They even showed me where to put my feet and acted as human guard rails when I got too nervous. (my husband felt nervous too, but he didn't tell me until later! :-)

Sometimes the path would open out wide and soft with pine needles under foot and trees on both sides to shade us. I would start to hope it would last, but then there would be a stream to cross (without benefit of a bridge) or another rocky ledge to brave.

Right at the end, when we thought it would get easy, there was another hill to climb! A fellow hiker called it “the hill that would never end!” Even the buff guys were so tired they were almost groaning.

But we made it!

Will I do it again? I don’t know but I’m glad I did it once!

I am again in a place of needing to simply trust and keep walking forward even when I can't see what lies ahead. I struggle with fear at times that I will take the wrong step and stumble and fall. But thankfully God is helping me and he's blessed me with some patient friends too who have been helping to guide and encourage me like my fellow hikers did back then.

"'For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” Jeremiah 29:11

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I used to think that Psalm 121 was about looking at majestic and mighty mountains and being inspired to praise God... but no! I now think it's much more about depending on God when needing to climb a daunting mountain - rugged, steep, rocky and threatening. As you wrote, God helps us succeed in climbing it; he watches over us and guides us. Like you, I've found climbing real mountains help me understand this psalm, which also applies to dealing with life's mountains.