So, yesterday I was in the mountains with my family, driving down the Blue Ridge Parkway. We stopped at several of the outlooks to take pictures of the incredible skyline, just marveling at the beauty and majesty of God.
It was late in the afternoon, but feeling adventurous, we pulled off to take a road that looked interesting, following the twists and turns higher into the mountainside. It was beautiful. I mean, there are no words to describe how amazing the sights were. We came across this quiet little stream, trickling down the mountainside, bringing life and beauty to everything around it.
After a while we came to a fork in the road, and we had to choose which way to go. A little later, another fork. After almost an hour going round and round on this mountain, I began to have some not-so-pleasant thoughts. I mean, we had not seen one other person, no cars, no houses, no signs of civilization, and we weren’t exactly on a paved road. What if these roads go on like this for hours? What if we’re stuck here on this mountain and can’t find our way out before nightfall? What if we run out of gas? Of course, there was no cell service. The thought of being stuck on the mountain began to crowd out my thoughts of how awesome and beautiful the journey was.
I’m in the wilderness right now. God has called me to leave behind what’s familiar and comfortable and step out into unknown territory. I don’t know where I’m going. I don’t know how to get there. I don’t know if I’ll be stuck here. And it’s scary.
Everything I’ve read and listened to over the last few weeks has been about the Israelites wandering in the wilderness. They left behind what they were familiar with to go to the Promised Land–a land flowing with milk and honey. But they took their eyes off the One who called them out and started looking at what they had left behind.
“As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians, marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to the Lord. They said to Moses, ‘Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die?'” (Exodus 14:10b-11, NIV 84).
God brought His people out of their past and was leading them into the future He had ordained for them, but they were terrified in the transition. They began to doubt that they were supposed to leave Egypt in the first place.
Are you in a time of transition right now? Maybe God has called you out of one thing and is leading you somewhere else, but you feel stuck in between. Maybe you’re beginning to doubt that you heard God. Maybe you’re looking back, thinking it would have been easier to stay with what was familiar. Maybe you’re beginning to fear that you will be stuck on the mountain with no way out.
But I read something recently that really opened my eyes to the truth. Even while the Israelites were wandering in the wilderness, they were already walking in the land God had promised to them. So while they were scared, complaining, and wanting to turn back, they were already receiving the promise! They just had to believe it.
How about you and me, my friend? Will we believe that we are walking in the promise, even if it doesn’t feel just right yet? I’ll admit, just as I thought about turning around on that mountain yesterday, there have been some moments I’ve thought about going back on my life’s journey, too. What if this doesn’t work out? What if I’ve missed the Lord?
As I heard recently, if we miss Him, He will find us. Don’t give up and turn back. Part of the blessing of the promise is the growing we do during the journey. If you’re like me and you want to stretch a little this year, learning to love more, wanting to go deeper with God, then we will have to be willing to walk the journey, even when the steps are a little unsure.
“But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13b-14).
Right in the middle of my mental wanderings on the mountainside yesterday, we came across a spot where Kenneth stopped. To be honest, in my mind I was just praying God would get us off the mountain, but we got out to look around anyway. Oh, how glad I am that there was beauty in the scary places.
We can be happy and enjoy the journey, even in our wilderness wanderings. The beauty and majesty of God are right in front of us. So, just keep walking, don’t look back, and trust God with each step. If we have trusted Him enough to step out, we are already walking in the promise. So just enjoy the ride.