The mountains of Colorado are a place where I feel like I am in the midst of God’s splendor. It is one of my favorite places to be. The massive expanse of mountains and sky, largely unencumbered by man’s interference, is breathtaking to behold…the breathlessness may have something to do with the altitude, but regardless, His handiwork overwhelms me.
Massive amounts of people flock to those mountains to enjoy the outdoors. I was blessed to spend some time there recently. In my adventures, I found myself confronted with a trail called Hairbag Alley. While the name made me laugh, the trail most definitely did not. Hairbag Alley was a very steep incline downward in a glade of trees, all thoroughly snow covered, and no discernable trail leading me to the more travelled routes. To be honest, you couldn’t see beyond any tree that was directly beside, in front, or behind you. My slight knowledge of this type of situation is: “don’t get too close to the tree trunks or you may sink into a “well” of softer, less packed snow that is incredibly difficult, if not impossible, to get out of.” I was intimidated to the point of shaky knees and a pounding heart. Even my self-pep-talk about how “I’ve got this” wasn’t particularly soothing.
Just when the panic began to rise, someone appeared beside me, trekking downward, like someone who knew exactly where he was going. I briefly looked for wings on him, convinced he was my guardian angel. Unbeknownst to him, he immediately became my guide. I lapsed into step behind him, following him down the mountain. He was moving much more quickly than I. Just when I thought I would lose him, I realized that he had left a trail in the snow. Whew!
Though the next 20 minutes held high intensity fighting with Hairbag Alley, I emerged onto a more familiar and well-traveled route. And there, paused at the bottom, was my guide. He looked up when I emerged. I took off my face covering and thanked him for being my happenstance guide at just the right time. He grinned and said “no one has ever called me a guide before! I’ll wear that for a while!” With a silent prayer of thanks for him, and an ask that the Lord bless him, we parted ways.
How often do we follow others without their knowing that they are blazing a trail for us? How often are we guides for others without our knowing? The Lord puts people in our lives for us to follow, and for us to lead, all day every day. We blaze trails wherever we go. Are we heading toward a healthy place?
We need to be discerning about who we follow, so we don’t end up where we don’t want to be. We must also act wisely, so that when someone follows us, we can be pleased about where we lead them. The Lord is the ultimate guide who is referred to, and refers to Himself, as a shepherd.
The Lord is my Shepherd: A shepherd leads/guides his sheep.
- I lack nothing: He provides for our needs, spiritual first, then the emotional, physical and so on. Our “needs” may look different than what is provided for us. But our Lord, our Father, knows what we need more than we do.
- He makes me lie down in green pastures: In Him, there is enough to nourish us as we have need. There is rest for our spirit, mind and body.
- He leads me beside quiet waters: In Him is peace. The stormy surge is on the outside, but it doesn’t have to be so on our insides.
- He restores my soul: When I am shattered and tattered in every way because I’ve been trying to make it on my own, He makes all things new.
- He guides me along the right paths: THERE IT IS!
- Even though I walk through the darkest valley…you are with me: His presence with us is constant.
- He prepares a table for me in the presence of my enemies: Those who trod on us, and come against us will be put to shame when we are invited to the head table at the heavenly party.
- He anoints my head with oil: Because I am His, His Spirit in me is my identifier with Him. I am anointed with His very presence.
- My cup runs over: If I stop and count my blessings, there would be no end to my list.
- Goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life: Maybe not man’s goodness or mercy, but God’s, which catapults over all, and which helps us place our hope beyond the here and now to eternity!
- I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever: Guaranteed luxury housing for eternity.
We follow the Lord as our guide because His path leads us to THE ultimate destination, and we don’t feel so lost and scared when we find ourself in unfamiliar and daunting territory. It might even give us the peace to pause, look around and perhaps find our location beautiful! Likewise, when our focus is on Him and we encounter someone just as lost and scared, we are better guides because the trail we leave leads others to Him. This gives them an opportunity to follow the trail to where they too find the Lord’s peace and the chance to see their own location as beautiful.
*bold text is taken from Psalm 23.