As much as I love the outdoors, there are some areas too rugged for me to trek. Every time I start discussing outdoor adventures, I am reminded of a trip to Southern Oregon a long time ago, and the invitation to go on a hike to collect rocks. Yes, rocks. These were special rocks which had been spit out of the ground hundreds of years ago when a volcano erupted.
Our guide made sure we were all carrying backpacks, so we could load up on the pretty rocks and make our day worthwhile. He advised us we were on a ranch which was along the southernmost border of Oregon, where it connects with Northern California, and we our hike would actually take us from Oregon into California, then back into Oregon. (I felt like we walked all the way to Southern California.)
The guide pointed toward a creek, several hundred yards to our left, and motioned for us to follow him as he started down a trail to the right. He then told us our return to the car would be a walk on the banks of the creek, which was now quite a ways behind us.
Rocks were everywhere! Pretty rocks, ugly rocks, rocks large and small. I am not much on geology, but was advised which rocks to look for, and we were finding those quickly in our hike. When my backpack was about one fourth filled, I began to learn the lesson of being very selective about which rocks were more desirable than others. The heavier the backpack became, the slower we walked. During one rest period, I even went through the rocks in my backpack and tossed out a few, just to lighten the load.
We finally arrived at the creek around noon, and rested again while we ate the snacks we had taken along. The guide told us we were closer to the car if we walked along the creek, but it would take longer to get to the car if we walked along the creek, because of the rugged terrain. The decision was made and soon we were taking the shorter, more rugged trail to the car. That trail started so smoothly but graduated to going over boulders which lined the creek. Keep in mind the backpack full of rocks we were each carrying. I confess to you, when we arrived at the car, my backpack was less than half full, and I thought if I had to take one more step, both legs would fall off.
I think about that hike even to this day when big decisions and choices come my way. Which direction should I go, which trail should I follow? Will the weight of my burden be too much for me to carry? Is there help available and willing to rescue me?
God says through David in Psalm 32:8, "I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you."
Maybe your hiking experiences are more favorable than mine, but I am sure your trek through life has met with many of the same ups and downs. Knowing this, isn't it a wonderful blessing as we journey through life, to be assured that it is God who instructs and teaches us the right paths to follow? And isn't it comforting for us to trust him through the ups and downs we encounter, because he continues to direct our way, keeping a loving eye on us?