The cooler weather blowing in beckons me outside. I truly am a nature girl at heart. I love trees and mountains and (leisurely) hiking. Nothing in this life compares to the adventure that can be experienced on a spontaneous hike. As you learned with my mountain lion encounter uncharted woods are my favorite.
I don’t plan to go off path, it just sort of happens. I really try to stay between the lines, but the beauty that surrounds me can be mesmerizing and distracting. On a hike in Montana one summer, my sister and I tried preventative measures to mark our trail carefully to stay safe and not get lost. We purchased neon orange spray paint to mark the trees that flanked the occasional clearings we came across. A good while into our hike we came upon a clearing that had a tree directly across from us marked with an orange streak. Our first thought was that someone else had the same ingenious idea, until it dawned on us that we had simply walked in a huge circle. Resigning ourselves to the narrow path back to camp we marched one in front of the other hedged in by the looming forest of pine trees flanking either side of us. Suddenly, the stability of our hearts was tested, when we came face to face with a moose!
My first conscious thought was there was no where for any of us to turn. How wrong I was! That majestic animal flipped around in a split second and galloped off sown the path. He knew the path and wasn’t straying from it, even if we were blocking his way. If we wouldn’t have been frozen in place we may have thought to try and climb a tree (maybe next time) or like the moose, turn and run back where we came from. We just didn’t have a clue how to proceed when we were faced with such an obstacle.
Have you ever felt that way, frozen in fear when the way seems blocked? Or have you ever been completely turned around when you would swear on your life you knew exactly what you were doing?
That’s where the 23rd Psalm comes into play. Don’t discount it just because you’ve heard it all your life and your grandmother probably has it hanging somewhere in her house. The first line introduces us to Jehovah Rohi, the Lord our Shepherd. But read between the lines. Not only does he care for us as a loving protector, his nurturing heart guides us out of harms way. (Maybe even keeps us on track without the orange spray paint.) He is our comforter even in the presence of enemies. (No guarantees you won’t come face to face with one or two!)
If we allow Him to, He will guide and protect us. He is aware of all of our weaknesses and vulnerabilities, and will gather us up in His arms if necessary. Isaiah 53:6 says all of us like sheep have gone astray and turned to our own way. Fortunately we have a heavenly Shepherd who will guide us down the right path!