Sunday, May 13, 2012

illuminations: the path unseen

On Wednesday, when both my kiddos were at school, I went for a short hike. This is the first week that I attempted to exercise since coming home from the hospital. It's taken over a month, but it feels so good to stretch my legs again. I took it really easy on the steep uphill climb, pausing frequently to take pictures with instagram and take in the beauty of my surroundings.

One of my favorite ways to connect with God in prayer is by spending time outside, alone, hiking the hills of Las Trampas. With my praise music blasting on the iPhone and the sun shining down warmly on my back, I offered up praise for all that is going well in my life and turned all my worries into prayers. 

About halfway up the hill, I chose to veer south on the flat leg rather than continue climbing, trying not to overdo it. I've done this same course many, many times but when I started to veer left, I couldn't find the path.

I started in, walking through Spring's knee-high green grass (and occasional thistle or prickly weed), trying again and again to find the path. I could see in the distance the brown streak through verdant fields indicating there was, indeed, a path to be found, yet with each passing step it somehow eluded me.

Eventually I found it, not six feet to my right. Six feet! After a lengthy trek through the tall grass, there it was! I laughed at how obvious the path seemed now that I was on it. My steps hastened and I fell in step with the music as my feet no longer needed to high-step it through tall grass and unfriendly thorns. 

Then it dawned on me--how much my morning hike resembles my walk with God. 

I am coming out of a Winter season, both literally and quite figuratively as well. The past few months have included some of the most trying times of my life. I have had to cling to my Savior like never before. Much of my prayers during that time acknowledged my journey of trust and obedience as I simply put one foot in front of the other, marching forward on the path I knew God would have me walk. 

Now I'm entering a Springtime. Life is teeming all around me. Prayers have been answered. Fruit is growing. The grasses of my life are green and abundant. And it's in the time of blessing and growth and abundance that the path is not so clear. The tall grasses and flowering plants conceal the dirt path beneath. Finding the path requires trudging through some weeds and thistles.

In the Winter of life, the starkness of the world around us forces us to look down and keep our eyes on the bare path ahead. In Spring, the lushness of life around us sometimes conceals the path forward.

It is my prayer that in any season, whether in want or in plenty, poor or rich, brown earth or green grass, I will continue to walk forward and trust that when I walk with Jesus--when I align my steps with those of my Rabbi--I will be right where I need to be.

Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths.
Psalm 25:4

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