What Trail are You On?

“Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight.”
Psalm 119:35

Most people I know enjoy a nice hike in the woods. There’s something about trekking in the forest—getting away from all the synthetic stuff and paved roads—that breathes life back into a man’s spirit.

Hiking can actually teach us a great deal about our spiritual lives. In most remote hiking areas it’s very common to start down a trail only to find that leaves, pine needles, and/or erosion can camouflage the main trail. If you don’t really know the area well, or aren’t paying attention to your direction, you can easily get off track.

Sometimes a well-used animal trail can also lead you astray. Animals most often don’t use the same hiking trail provided for humans, instead developing their own trail networks that usually lead to their food, water source, or bedding area. A novice trail user can inadvertently follow the game trail instead of keeping to the often over-grown hiking trail. Occasionally people even get lost in the woods, usually resulting in confusion, frustration, and fear. Being lost is rarely a fun experience.

And then there is the trail clutter we find along the way. Hikers need to be attentive to the loose soil, tripping hazards, and potholes that uniquely conceal themselves on the track. Carelessness can quickly turn a nice hike into a turned ankle, scraped knee, or worse.

Life is often like that—like taking a long hike on an unfamiliar trail. As we journey through life, there are unexpected snares and hazards begging to trip us up. They may be moral traps Satan puts in our path or just worldly temptations that cause us to stumble. Then there are those trails that cross our pathway, threatening to redirect our plans. Most often our struggle is not between picking a good path vs. an evil path, but rather in simply picking God’s best. If we’re not regularly communicating with God and listening to His voice, we can find ourselves following a route that consumes our energy and time. Pretty soon we find we’re exhausted, burned out, and have lost our joy, which brings me to a final comparison.

If you really want to have the best “hiking experience” possible, you need a guide to show you the way. A good woodsman can help you find the most direct route to your  destination. He can also alert you to possible hazards along the way.

As we journey down the trail of life it’s good to remember that God is with us. The Holy Spirit is our best Guide, the Bible is our unfailing GPS and topographic map, and the fellowship of a good friend can be our encourager.

The Power of Truth:

  • “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” Psalm 19:105
  • “The LORD says, ‘I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.’” Psalm 32:8 (NLT)
  • “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” 1 Cor. 10:13

Suggestion for Prayer:

If you have wandered off the path or find yourself entangled in various snares, ask God to redirect you and restore your joy.