“Bright and Morning Star”

9″x12″ Pastel on Velour

Our family enjoys tent camping in the woods behind our house. We have even cleared a spot that we have designated as our own personal campground. On our camping adventures we like to hike in the woods, and in the spring we enjoy looking for morel mushrooms.
There are lots of deer trails in the woods that we follow on our hiking adventures. But sometimes we venture off the main paths when we see something we want to explore more. Each time we go through the woods it seems like the trails change some though. Sometimes the trail is obvious, and sometimes it seems to disappear. And sometimes they go through places that deer can go, but maybe a human wouldn’t want or even be able to go.

Lately in my Bible reading I have been reading through the book of Acts. In Acts, the early church is called “followers of The Way”. I am sure this comes from where Jesus says “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” (John 14:6). Anyway I have been thinking about how different things in our life can feel like a walk in the woods. That can be our career path, our spiritual life, or life in general.
Often these “paths” are much like the ones in the wood that we hike. Sometimes they are obvious. Sometimes they lead us into places that are seemingly impassable. Sometimes they are overgrown with clutter, distractions, or even turmoil and strife, much like dense foliage can cover a trail.
It’s in times like this that we have to trust that God has a plan for us (“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.“
‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭29‬:‭11‬ ‭NIV‬‬ )and he knows what is best for us (”And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.“ Romans‬ ‭8‬:‭28‬ ‭NIV‬‬) Especially when the trail seems to take a strange turn, feels like it’s going in the wrong direction, or goes someplace that looks dangerous or impassable. Sometimes we have to stop where we are and let the seasons of our life change so the dense foliage of stressors can die back and we can once again see the path.

I don’t think it’s any coincidence that the group of Israelites Moses led “wandered in the wilderness” for 40 years. Maybe God led them through seemingly invisible paths intentionally so they would learn to trust him more? I wonder if that’s why we go through times in our life where the path seems to disappear? Or maybe it leads us to our own “Red Sea”-a seemingly impossible place to go through that requires a major step of faith.

I pray that you will seek the Lord’s guidance and learn to trust him as he guides you. Jesus has told us that he is the way, and he won’t steer us wrong.

Getting up and moving for the day on one of our many camping outings in 2023.