“Which way should we go?”
With dismay and no small sense of panic, my kids and I surveyed the path in front of us, splitting off into a messy fork. There were no markers to guide the way forward, and both trails looked like feasible options to take us back to the parking lot. There was just no knowing how far we might drift off course if we went the wrong way, and with two small children in tow, it was not a mistake I wanted to make….
Life can feel a bit like that, can’t it? Sometimes opportunities present themselves and the path we should take seems crystal clear. Yes or No. Left or Right. And other times, it feels a lot more like stumbling forward on an ambiguous trail, hoping against hope that we’re traveling in the right direction.
The Israelites had no such problem on their journey through the wilderness. When the cloud lifted from over the Tabernacle, they followed it, and when it settled they stopped and made camp. “In this way, they traveled and camped at the Lord’s command wherever he told them to go” (Numbers 9:18, NLT).
Imagine how helpful it would be if, like them, we had such a tangible manifestation of the Lord’s presence to guide us. We have a much harder job to walk by faith and not by sight. But though we cannot always visibly see the way ahead, we can trust that God will never leave us alone on the path.
He watches over us (Psalm 121: 5-8).
His Word still speaks to us (Hebrews 4:12).
His Spirit is always with us (Psalm 139:7-10).
Yet even though the Israelites were clearly walking in God’s will, experiencing His provision first-hand, they still found reason to complain about the hardships en route. For us, too, the path can often seem arduous, the suffering too great to ensure. We yearn for an easier option—a shortcut through the wilderness directly to the Promised Land.
God, however, often has us walk through the valleys to prepare us for the mountaintops. Sharpening our faith, molding our heart, cultivating a spirit of deeper reliance and trust. Bringing us to the end of ourselves in order to make space for more of Him.
If you’re at a crossroads today and the trail markers are proving elusive, or if the path you have been called to walk simply feels too difficult, too monotonous, or too far; let’s keep walking in faith, with assurance of His presence alongside us every step of the way. For “I am trusting you, O Lord, Saying, ‘You are my God!’ My future is in your hands” (Psalm 31:14-15a, NLT).