I love hiking, especially in the fall because the weather is cooler. The only thing about hiking in the fall is that the leaves obscure the trail making the path harder to see. Since I hike on trails I am familiar with I watch for other markers along the way to make sure that I don’t go off the trails. There are a few signs, some random arrows nailed to trees, familiar curves and turns- I just need to watch for them.
Since I think when I walk, I realized that the obscured paths and watching for markers is similar to our walk of faith.
There are days when the trails are clear, the path smooth, and I show up to walk. These are the days when life is going smoothly, but still I show up to pray, study God’s Word and listen. I desire to know God and know His truths. I don’t want to just know God when I am in a moment of desperation. I want to know God every day. These are the days that I am marking my path, putting markers along the way for later, so I don’t lose my way.
Later there might be the leaves hiding my paths. The way isn’t as clear, I walk a little bit slower looking for familiar markers. I see them along the way, the truths embedded in my heart along the previous walks. I’ve left a trail that I can follow so I don’t lose my way.
Snow will come and a hush will fall over the woods. I think I am being buried, the trails are completely gone. I walk, leaving footsteps in the soft snow. I can see the path behind me, but the way forward is blank. I see the bend in the road, the downed tree at the curve, and one small marker with snow covering some of the words. I hold onto the truths I know and I keep stepping forward gingerly, even though I can’t see the path.
But I remember, always, that God is a good God. I recite the truths that my heart has learned on the clear days when the path was easy to see. I listen for His still small voice and I can hear it whisper to my heart. I’m grateful for the markers left along the path, truths I knew on the clear days are the truths I can hold today. I write them down, hold them in my hand…and I keep walking them out in the woods.
The seasons will cycle again. It never stays winter without a beautiful re-birth in the spring. There is always a beginning again.