I’m not sure why it’s taken me so long to share this story, but this past summer, I was walking through a park with one of my friends when we decided to cut off the paved walkway and take a trail that was definitely the path-less-taken. Because of this, we actually discovered a really nice little picnic area and were able to sit for a while and talk overlooking this beautiful lake as we took in the cool breeze on that particularly hot day. It was a really nice experience, all in all, but as we were heading back to the paved walking path, I was reminded of an event from my childhood that I just, in the natural flow of conversation wound up sharing with my walking companion – and I’m so thankful I did because my friend definitely gave me a whole new perspective on the story, one I had certainly never considered before.
When my sister and I were younger, sometimes my uncle (or my dad’s best friend, rather) would come pick us up and we would spend time with him, his wife, and/or his daughter. That day, he took my sister, his daughter and I to one of the nearby nature reservations to go hiking. As an adult, I frequent this particular park trails because it’s close to home and I love to hike and bike, but at 9 or 10 I only really knew the playground. I didn’t have much need for the trails back then.
So my uncle takes us out on these trails anyway. And at some point in our nature walk, he veers us completely off course. See, he and my dad grew up in the same city that I’ve grown up in and even as grown men, the two of them are easily defined as outdoorsmen; they love to explore. But as three young girls under the age of 10, we’re kind of getting nervous the farther we get from the trail. And once we’ve gotten so far into the woods that we can’t even begin to remember a way back to the pathway, we start to get really nervous. Now, my memory is only so good, and I don’t remember what we must have said to him to express these concerns, but I do remember what he said to ease them: he kept telling us to relax, that he’d grown up in these woods and he knew them like the back of his hand. We just needed to trust him, and just stay close behind him, and he’d get us out. “Just trust me.” he said.
I think it’s pretty obvious to say, that as I am sitting here now, he got us out of the woods safe and sound. I’m not sure why that memory has stuck with me for almost 15 years, but I doubt if I’ll ever forget it.
As I’m recounting this story to my friend, he makes a “huh” sound, like he’s just had a peculiar thought. When I asked, he said, “I wonder if there’s something to that, ya know? You were young, you didn’t know the way, but he did. And he just kept telling you to relax and trust him and he’d get you out.” Not a lot more was said at the time, there was a mutual understanding that it was a comparison drawn from my experience to my walk with God – but I’m not exaggerating when I say that I think about this and ponder it often.
He was right. There definitely is something to it. You know, sometimes we’re definitely walking through the wilderness and sometimes, we just look up and think, “Um.. Lord..? What are we doing here? Is this north or…? Because I don’t really know… I mean, are you sure?” And over and over and over again, God just says to us, “Relax, child. I know where we are and I know why we are here. Just stick close and I’ll get you out, I promise. Just trust me.”
I think one of the greatest things I’ve learned as a Christian is not just to believe IN God, but to just BELIEVE God. Being a Christian is so much more than acknowledging His existence. It’s also about believing what He says is true. Our joy in this life will come directly from just trusting Him – trusting Him to love us the way He says He does, heal us the way He says He will, provide for us the way He claims to provide, and to just be the God He promises to be. We just have to trust Him – unfortunately, it’s the hardest part.
So many people struggle with so many trust issues, myself included, that we don’t even realize how much of that gets projected onto our relationships with God. But I can guarantee you that misery in life comes directly from not trusting the Lord with everything. Once you can say that you’ve fully trusted the Lord with your whole heart and every corner of your mind, that’s when you’ll truly begin to live the abundant life Christ died for.
I’m so thankful for the experience I had when I was younger, because now I have a real-life memory, a tangible story to put with this concept of just walking in faith and trusting the Lord, even when I’m a little scared. I’m also thankful that He reminds me of it constantly because it is such a hard thing and I have dealt with so many trust issues in my relationship with God. It brings me back to the place where I can hear Him saying, “Just trust me. Stick close and I will get you out” and when I fix my heart on that, there’s not much else I can see that would even tempt me to fear.
My only hope and prayer is that this story will bless you as it has blessed me and that when you’re feeling a little lost, you’ll be able to hush yourself for a moment and relax and just listen for Him to say to you that He knows the way.
“I shall hear a word behind me, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” whenever I turn to the right or the left.” ~Isaiah 30:21