Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Forks and Other Confusions

I ran today through a chorus of rejoicing trees which stood tall against a September sky of incredible blue.  "Oh, wow," I kept saying around every bend, the scenery taking my breath away.  If this is only an unpaved nature trail in a city park in the middle of Ohio, how much more awesome will heaven be?

People ask me, "Why do you run?"  Well, for one, I can't get enough of creation like this.

The path today was not very familiar to me.  Last week when I ran it, the trail split at one unmarked junction.  I followed it to the left about a quarter of a mile until it suddenly dead-ended in a grassy field.  I had to backtrack to get to the loop around the small lake.  At another split last week, I saw other runners and knew to follow them.

Early this morning, chilly with the very beginnings of autumn, there were only a few people at the park.  But I noticed as I ran, a few arrows spray-painted on the dirt path, left over from a cross country meet yesterday afternoon. There are not always people available to direct the runners, nor is the way obvious in unfamiliar surroundings.  The arrows were for these high school runners to guide them on the course.  Even rough places and roots that threatened to trip the runners were spray painted bright orange as a warning.

And at a critical fork in the trail, there was a painted neon arrow in the dirt and leaves.  Without words or dramatic display, it made the way obvious.  Turn right.

Whether navigating a new trail or launching into a new day, there will be forks in the road and confusing places along the way, usually at unexpected moments. 

But a day started with Scripture grounds me.  God's Word directs me into the day, impacting not just my heart, but my eyes and my thoughts.  "Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." (Psalm 119.105).   At the onset of the day, I pray, "O LORD, please guide me through YOUR day for me."  And because it is His day, not mine, there are no interruptions, detours or surprises.  All in His hands.  All for His purposes.

And those inevitable forks in the road?  The Bible says, "blessed are all those who wait for Him" (Isaiah 30.18).  Waiting doesn't mean sitting around, watching for the Fed Ex truck with a nicely wrapped decision.  Waiting implies momentum, remaining in expectation without running ahead of God.  "And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, "This is the way, walk in it," when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left." (Isaiah 30.21).  And sometimes it literally means wait.

There will be forks in the road.  Be ready for them.  The best means is daily and consistent entrenching in God's Word.   I can't tell you how many times in the middle of a tense moment or narrow squeak, a verse that I have read that morning comes to mind to help me navigate a tough situation.  God may (or may not) send you a "telegram" of what to do.  But when you wait on the LORD, seek Him, and listen, He will guide your steps, even when you don't understand.  All for His glory.

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