About 18 years ago, Sal and I spent many weekends hiking the trails at O'Leno State Park in Florida. On one occasion, we planned to do a long hike that would take 4-5 hours to complete. We brought food and water, planning to have a picnic out in the woods. Unfortunately, we stepped off the trail and onto a deer path and were miserably lost for hours. This was prior to cell phones and, with our unfamiliarity of this area in the deep woods, we could do nothing but say a prayer and keep walking.
We ended up behind Camp Kulaqua. We had to climb the fence, walk through the camp, a mile out to the main road, and back to O'Leno. We estimated we had walked at least 24 miles that day. It was a day we never forgot!
After Sal was diagnosed with cancer, O'Leno was our refuge. We sometimes just drove out, sat near the bridge, and enjoyed the peace it brought to us.
For years, I’ve wanted to conquer that trail but have been too "a-feared" to try it. Well, today, with food, water, and a cell phone, I did just that! I set out with much more knowledge of trail markings. I checked in with the park rangers, so they knew where I was heading. I kept my eyes alert and proceeded cautiously, carefully staying on the right path. It took 3 hours to get to my destination of River Rise and 2 1/2 hours to get back.
I was out in God's glorious country, with deer prints on the path and some areas completely grown over. I was alone...what an awesome feeling to experience God's presence in everything around me. And, the moment I realized I was walking past a 4-foot rattlesnake on the trail, I maintained that peaceful feeling. Alright, yes, I did levitate and say, "holy cannoli." J But, it did not lessen my feeling of closeness with my Lord. I must say, I am proud of myself for stepping out there and not only conquering that trail, but conquering my fear, as well. And, I think Sal would be pretty proud of me, too!
Knowing Sal, I’m sure he would’ve been proud of Teresa. I certainly am. She’s been a great spiritual inspiration to me and all who know her.
Many times in life we encounter paths that appear to lead in the right direction. Then they turn into scary, meandering unknown trails that we’re desperate to escape.
Sometimes the enemy entices us onto the wrong path.
And sometimes, we choose the wrong path because we don’t interpret the warning signs to stay away.
But consider this: Sometimes we know the path is right, and we’re simply too afraid to step onto it. Like Teresa, we’ve had previous bad experiences or we fear the unknown. We’ve been burned one too many times. We’re scared we’ll get hopelessly lost.
Our faith walk emulates this at times. God leads us on a spiritual journey, but he doesn’t promise it will be a path of roses minus the thorns. But he does promise to walk with us. We simply have to obey. Doesn’t seem so simple, though, does it? Yet when we step out on faith and trust God to lead us, he won’t disappoint. His promises enable us to be courageous.
It was by faith Abraham obeyed God’s call to go to another place God promised to give him. He left his own country, not knowing where he was to go. Hebrews 11:8
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
Has God called you to walk a path that seems scary and full of unknowns? Or maybe it’s filled with known threats? Share a scripture that has given you courage to follow His call.
Would you take a moment to pray for those on the list at the top of the blog and for the requests below?
My 7-year-old great-nephew Jack is undergoing surgery on his hip next Tuesday, July 23, due to Perthes disease. Please pray for his surgeons and hospital staff, as well as for the best possible outcome for him. Prayers for peace for his parents during this stressful time would also be appreciated.
Tony has started having frequent migraine headaches. Please pray for him to figure out what is triggering the migraines and for pain relief.
If you have a prayer need, please leave a comment or e-mail me confidential requests. I’d love to pray for you.
©Laura Hodges Poole