Guide to the Appalachian Trail
settled in the back seat of an Uber car the other day, folded my white
cane, and stuffed it in my bag. As I usually do, I began a conversation
with the driver. As expected, we became friends. That's because I ask
questions that prompt them to share and keep sharing about their lives.
This last driver told me about his brother who wrote the guide for
the Appalachian Hike. I learned this adventure can take from 5 months to
10 years to complete. Gulp. But with the help of the guide, the hike is
doable. In it, he details all the challenges, the best gear to bring,
places to avoid, potential dangers, list of easier routes, best places
to eat, how to find laundromats, lodging, etc.
Whew! Sounds like
more than I can handle...
The long hike called
But whether we like it or not, we're all,
indeed, on a long hike called life. And the path is often filled with
challenges, unexpected turns and obstacles. The good news is that much
like the guide for the Appalachian trail hike, God wrote the guide for
us to follow and reach the destination called peace.
where you are on that hike? Or maybe peace is a foreign word in the
midst of this world's chaos? Good news; the guide to finding that peace
is free, available and in the language any hiker can understand.
Let's conquer obstacles
With that guide in our hearts, we're
ready to conquer obstacles of any kind.
We need a companion. We
need encouragement. We need a comforting word. And we desperately need
someone to tell us that all will be okay. That's why God's peace comes
through this truth: "For he will deliver the needy who cry out, the
afflicted that have no one to help. He will take pity on the weak and
the needy and save the needy from death." (Psalm 72:12-13 NIV)
Oh, those difficult and unexpected turns of heartache that barge in.
Most are out of our control. Some crash in because of other's sins. Yet,
God knows the oppression against our soul, and right when we cry out for
help, "He will rescue them from oppression and violence, for
precious is their blood in his sight. The LORD is a refuge for the
oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble." (Psalm 72:14 NIV).
Fear visits. We fear we won't make it to the finish line. When we
grumble about the sorry turn of events and the unfairness, when we long
for His presence, peace fills us because, "God is our refuge and
strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear,
though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the
sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their
surging." (Psalm 46:1-3 NIV)
Gloom hovers over. When no one
understands. When most cannot help, peace conquers sadness. "You are
sad, I'm listening, and I will save you from your troubles." (Psalm
Helplessness invades. But God offers His peace through
this invitation: "When clouds of grief try to overtake you, ask Me for
consolation and relief. Cry out to Me in your times of trouble, and I
will save you from your distress." (paraphrased from Psalm 107:19).
Frustration won't let up. When we walk in circles around the same
mountain of adversity, tears blur our vision; the path looks crooked and
rough. That's when His guide instructs: "Trust in the LORD with all
your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways
acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight." (Proverbs
Better days are coming, hang on to the guide; the One
who wrote it is with you. He never abandons or leaves you. And with Him
by your side, there is no fear. There's only strength for each step.
Reassurance for every turn. And He ushers the peace that carries power.
Let's pray: Father, how often, with a restless heart, I've
embarked on the hike with my own plans and my own map in hand. Forgive
my prideful ways and grant me a heart of humility. Show me how to follow
your steps, to allow your guide to lead me. And find peace as I learn to
walk on the path you prepared for me. In Jesus' name.
guide are you using for your hike today?
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