Hiking is a metaphor for real life. I remember the first time I took my kids to hike along the Susquehanna River. We started by navigating our way on a small, steep path of a mountain to a flat paved bike path. To get to the river, we had to find a trail that took us through thick woods which led to a beach-like coast of the river. Our final destination allowed us to see a glimpse of God’s glory as the sun set over the water while listening to the water rolling past us. It was worth the journey. We knew we were going to get to the river, but, honestly, I didn’t exactly know how we were going to get there. Of course, I didn’t let my kids know that fact.
Every person is on a unique path in discovering their unique God-given purpose in life. However, life is made up of seasons where the path is not always smooth and easy. As we were hiking the steep mountain, our attention had to be on our feet to make sure each step would not slip. We could glance at the distance to see where we were going, but most of our attention was on the immediate step in front of us. This part of the journey was not smooth and easy.
When we got to the bike path, it was flat and we could see far into the distance. We did not need to focus on each step which gave us time to rest and determine where we should go. This part of the journey was smooth and easy. The final leg of the journey was navigating a thickly wooded area. We knew the "pristine beaches" of the Susquehanna were not far off, but we couldn’t see it with our eyes. We had to trust the process. Whether the trail was steep or flat, thick or clear, we experienced peace if we kept one eye on the road in front of us and one on getting to the final destination.
Peace is not a destination but a pathway to a destination.
Peace is not a destination but a pathway to a destination. Many people are searching for peace, especially now. But the pressures of navigating the next normal, financial challenges, and all that the world is going through can lead to a feeling of defeat, not peace. If you’re in that place, God’s Word shows us how to find this pathway of peace.
When Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, spoke about the coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, he introduced him this way:
“Because of God’s tender mercy, the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide us to the path of peace.” (Luke 1:78-79 NLT)
When it’s dark, it’s difficult to determine direction. Jesus is described as the dawn of Heaven delivering light to those in darkness. The psalmist prayed this promise, "Your word is a lamp to my feet a light to my path."
Jesus is described as the dawn of Heaven delivering light to those in darkness.
Often we think that experiencing uncertainty asks the question, "God have you abandoned me?" The light of his Word shows that we can trust God completely even in the midst of uncertainty.
When hiking a path in the woods, you have to navigate where to place each step. You have to keep one eye on the ground while the other eye is looking ahead. Sometimes you can see far in the distance and sometimes you only know the next step. It’s the same in life. We can’t always see the final destination, but God’s Word shines a light on the path of our present situation, giving us peace for our unique expedition. God’s gift of peace is the path for our feet as we step forward in our God-given purpose.