Summary: While we may have to follow our heart in devising the path that we are to walk in, we can rest assured that Jesus is still directing our steps.
TAKE THE NEXT STEP
By Pastor Jim May
Sometimes life can be so confusing. I cannot tell you the number of times that I have come to a point in times of confusion when I did not know which way to turn or what to do next. In those times I often think of the words of Moses to the Children of Israel at the Red Sea when he said in Exodus 14:13, "…stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD…” Sometimes those words ring loudly in my heart and I know that God wants me to just “stand still” and listen for His voice and hear His counsel. But that isn’t always the case.
Sometimes standing still is just not an option. I feel impressed, even pushed to go forward, but which direction to take – that is the question. None of us want to miss the will of God and go off in the wrong direction. We all want to stay right in the center of God’s will.
The problem we encounter is that we often don’t know exactly where that center is. We can see that God is leading us. We know that He is taking us somewhere. But, in our confusion, we can’t see where to go because of the fog of doubts and troubles that surround us.
I know that all of you have driven in a dense fog. You know there’s a road in front of you, and if it a road that you travel often, you have a sense of which way it will turn. But what about those roads that you haven’t traveled; can you tell which way the road will go now? When you top the hill, does it go to the left, to the right, or does the road continue on straight ahead? Will you be in the ditch or on the road, or even worse, will something be in the road that you won’t see in time to stop? There is nothing more frustrating than to be in a hurry to get somewhere and have to contend with the fog.
That’s the way that life is all too often. I often find myself saying, “Now Lord, I know you brought me to this place, but what comes next?”
I remember a story that is told of man who was hiking on a high mountain trail in a fog. He was walking along a good trail with the rock under his feet. But unknown to him there was a place in the trail where the rock had fallen away. He was so sure of the trail that he really wasn’t paying attention so he stepped into that hole and slipped over the side. Just as he started to fall, he happened to see a little bush growing out of the side of the mountain and he was barely able to grab hold of a branch and keep from falling into the depths below. He couldn’t see anything below but fog. He could see the trail above but he couldn’t get back to it. With each passing second his hands were slipping and the branch seemed to be giving way. What could he do?
He did what any of us would do – he started yelling for help. But he also knew that there was probably no one there to hear his cry. This was a trail that not many would use, so his chance of rescue was very slim. No one could hear his cries. No one could help him now – it seemed so hopeless.
Then, out of the fog, came a voice. It was a low, deep voice that seemed to come from everywhere at once. The voice simply said, “Let Go”.
Let Go; are you nuts? Let Go; don’t you know that it is several hundred feet, maybe more to the bottom of this mountain. Let Go; that’s out of the question. I don’t think so.
Again the voice said, “Let Go. It will be all right.” The thoughts began to race through his mind, “Am I losing it? Is this the end? Is that the voice of death calling to me?”
He just couldn’t let go but his grip was growing weaker and the branch was continuing to turn loose from the rocks so he knew that it wouldn’t matter shortly anyway. So he took one last deep breath, closed his eyes, prayed for God to help him and then let go of the branch. In an instant he was in a free-fall and in a split second, his whole life flashed before him as he fell in terror.
He fell about 8 feet when suddenly he felt someone reach out and grab him. At the same time he felt his feet hit something solid. What he didn’t know is that there was another traveler on that trail, a Park Ranger, who made daily trips ahead of everyone else just to make the path safe. The Park Ranger was coming from the opposite end of the trail and just a few feet farther along; the trail had a switchback to where the rocks had fallen.