Our third leg of the walk from Clinton to Navarre was quite different than what we anticipated when we left home that morning. One week prior, the surrounding area had experienced intense rain and storms leading to some serious flooding. However, we had no idea that the trail would be under water. Looking at the “lake” before us, we sat in our car and considered our options. Do we postpone our walk and head for home or do we walk the twenty-one mile trek via roads for the next seven hours? How many miles will we walk off course if we follow the roads? How wide is the berm and how dangerous is this going to be with traffic? And most importantly, how often will we see an available rest room? After several minutes and a silent prayer, we decided to try it and crawled out of our car… right in front of a small white church. I smiled when I saw their sign, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and He will direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6). Ok. Let’s do it.
And we did. We walked past Northwest High School, through quaint Canal Fulton to bustling downtown Massillon. We went from strolling on the heights of a peaceful grassy knoll through a flock of geese to hunkering down and hiking on highway 21. Now that was an experience. God kept us on course, kept us safe and even provided restrooms when there was a need.
Just like our hike, we often attempt to chart the course of our lives. But it turns out God may have a different plan. We may set out pursuing a dream and working hard but then an unexpected “flooding” occurs and we’re left asking questions. We may begin our “hike” and end up where we’d hoped, but God took us on a different route and through experiences we never planned. We may end up at a completely different destination altogether. Whatever the case, as we fix our eyes and hearts on Him we know we can trust Him. Because whatever the trail He has us hiking, it’s not in vain. He has lessons to teach us, sights to show us, and a faith to grow us. He’s leading us toward Himself.