March 17, 2014 by Beth Hess
No, the path of life meanders.
Left. Right. Up. Down. Over streams. Under trees. Wide fields. Narrow spaces. Sharp curves. Long and boring stretches. Sunny days followed by rain-soaked ones.
Leaves cover the trail. Rocks get loose. It’s easy to lose your way.
But experienced hikers know the trail is marked. If you know what to look for.
Just move from one red rectangle to the next.
Sometimes you can see several markers ahead. Sometimes just the next one. But like a dot-to-dot puzzle, if you follow the signs one at a time, you’ll find your way.
To the uninitiated, the colored placards mean nothing. They rely on their own methods to navigate. Some accidentally find success. Some stay lost for a long, long time. Some decide just to live in the woods and claim that was always the plan. It’s not that they can’t see the markers. They just have no idea what they mean.
And we treat life the same way. Those who are “lost in darkness” can’t see. And they can’t hear. Because the scripture gives us a promise: The spotter is always speaking.
Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” -Isaiah 30:21
As I focus on this passage as my Word of the Week, my prayer is that I will learn to really hear. That, as I sometimes paraphrase this verse, God would be “loud in my head.”
Turn here. Bear right. Stay the course. Step around this mud. Jump this creek. Watch out for snakes. Stop and look at this for a minute. Let’s head on. Take a rest. Don’t give up.
For some of you, hearing God’s voice in this way will be new. You may even wonder what it sounds like. One of the cool things about trail markers is that if you pause where you are and turn around, you see the red rectangles from the other side — the defined lightposts of the path you’ve been on. With just a little reflection, then, you can begin to discern the ways God has directed you here, even if you never noticed them before.
May you see the markers. May God be loud in your head.