Two friends hiking in a remote area became lost. They tried backtracking, but that made the situation worse because the woman slipped trying to find their tracks and not looking where she was going. She slid on her backside and cut up her arms and back and was now quite sore and bleeding slightly.
Worn out and suddenly overwhelmed, she refused to continue on and began crying inconsolably. Her friend offered to go for help and she angrily stood up and tucked in her shirt to reduce the chafing against her injured back. They began their decent together, carefully picking their way and scanning the ground for footprints.
It had been the woman’s idea to go off the trail and see what was over the next hill, and that had led to the next vista and the next. She surveyed the view behind her but couldn’t say if any of it was similar to what had led her to seek the next hill. It was all the same, a tree here and there, a rock of one color or another. None of it seemed familiar or significant, but at the same time none of it seemed new.
Confused and frustrated, she blamed herself and then her cellular carrier for not providing a signal. Her friend had not brought his phone, a point he blamed himself for now. He had no idea what was the right direction. It was frustrating that he could not remember the area better, but he had been so engrossed in their conversation he hadn’t noticed where his friend led them.
They had already hiked ten miles when their conversation turned into a disagreement on a point both felt strongly about. Now the topic seemed unimportant, for they knew that the possibility of being stranded for the night seemed likely. The sun set all too quickly, and they decided to find a place to rest for the night and hope that tomorrow was better. As the stars came out and the beautiful view unencumbered by the city lights displayed, they began to talk again.
The conversation was pleasant, but cut short when the man suddenly said “look” and pointed off in the distance. A dim light flickered and waned at first, then became stronger. Standing up quickly and gathering their belongings the two set off in the direction of the light, now sure it was a campfire.
The starlight was enough to see large obstacles, and they slowly picked their path toward the light, now certain of the direction. As they came close enough to smell the fire, the woman’s cellular service resumed. A few steps more and they both recognized the terrain. Celebrating, they walked confidently toward the car as the woman called her family to reassure them.
Moral of the story:
Matthew 2:9 “When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.”
In the Old Testament God led His people with a cloud by day and fire in the night, stopping where they needed to stop and camp, or moving on. I sometimes think how nice it must have been for people to have clear direction on God’s will and wish I had that for my life. The idea of a big glowing sign pointing at the door I should choose for life’s decisions seems so nice because I know the times I have followed the Lord were always better than when I didn’t. It’s easy to say the wise men and the children of Israel had more direct revelation than I could ever claim to. However, it is not really fair for me to say that I have no idea what God’s will is for my life because I don’t see a star, cloud, or fire.
The Bible is full of direction and clarity, it may not be what I want to hear sometimes, but there is clarity there whether I acknowledge it or not. The same passage hits me in a different way and I know that is not by accident, my perspective has changed, my circumstances, etc. These combine with the Spirit to give that new information I didn’t see before. I guess that’s why this blog has really helped me to focus and think deeper!