Wouldn’t it be wonderful if our lives had warning signs like the one in this photograph, letting us know when we’re heading toward danger?
I spotted this sign while hiking in Israel, and believe me, the abyss was enormous and without guardrails to keep unwary hikers from falling over the edge. I’ve been thinking about that hike a lot as I stand at an important crossroads in my life. I wish I knew which path was the right one, what dangers and challenges lay along each trail, so I could make the best choice. What if one path takes me in the wrong direction or comes to a dead end? Or an abyss?
In seeking guidance, I recall my hike in Israel. This is a photograph, taken from our hotel, of the terrain we hiked through in the Wilderness of Zin.
The Israelites traveled through this same wilderness on their way to the Promised Land—and isn’t that where we all want to end up, in the place where God wants us to be? But first we sometimes have to trek through dry, difficult places.
Only a fool would head out into this trackless waste without a guide. And without water! The path was barely distinguishable from the surrounding landscape, at times, and it would have been very easy to wander off and become lost.
The hike was challenging, the sun merciless overhead, but our guide promised us beauty—and some lessons along the way. And here is our first surprise—an oasis where we least expected it.
I noticed as we followed our guide that everyone stayed within sight of him. No one lagged behind or wandered away. He had our complete trust. And eventually we reached this beautiful valley, hidden in the middle of the vast wilderness. We also reached a dead end. The narrow path we had been following suddenly ended at this high, rocky cliff.
By now, we had been hiking for several hours and the prospect of retracing our steps beneath the blazing, afternoon sun had us pretty discouraged. Maybe we had gone the wrong way and our guide didn’t want to tell us.
He let us rest and quench our thirst. And while we did, he talked about trusting God to lead us through our wilderness times the way we had been trusting him in this wilderness. He explained how we need a full supply of water—God’s Word—stored up in our hearts during the good times so it can carry us through the bad ones.
Yes, we had reached a dead end, he said. And so often when we reach dead ends in life we panic and scramble to save ourselves, looking for a way out instead of quietly waiting and trusting God. These were good lessons to remember. But what were we going to do now at this dead end?
It wasn’t an easy path by any means. In fact, it was terrifying in places.
Don’t let my happy smile fool you—I was shaking in my shoes!
But after an invigorating climb, we all arrived safely on top—and there was our air-conditioned tour bus, waiting to take us back to our hotel.
Today as I stand at my crossroads, I’m trusting God to help me choose the right path. If I let Him be my guide, if I follow where He leads and stay close to His side, even when the terrain is difficult, I might find an oasis or two to refresh me along the way.
I’ve been delving into His Word as I prepare for my journey, making sure I won’t run dry. And while I can expect His path to be challenging, I know there will be no dead ends. I will arrive safely at last—exactly where God wants me to be.
“He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.” (Psalm 40:2)
****If you enjoyed this Blog, you may be interested in my upcoming nonfiction work, “Pilgrimage, My Journey to a Deeper Faith in the Land Where Jesus Walked” Available this November! To order please Click Here! ***