The Scary Forest
–Anyone who knows me at all knows that I am what you would call a “roadmap girl”. I like to know what is going to happen, how it is going to happen, with who it is going to happen and any other detail that is possible to know. I like to know every aspect, every angle as far in advance as possible. In fact, a few YEARS ahead of time would be great. Are you getting the picture?
Did you know that God has refused to hand me the roadmap for the years ahead? GASP! Shocker, isn’t it? He simply doesn’t seem to agree with me that I need to know all the details years in advance.
So, how do I reconcile these two opposing views? How am I able to rest in the fact that God has the map, the details and the plans to every area of my life and my families’ lives but He is just not sharing them with me? How can I not fret and stew about what’s next?
First off, it is vital for me to remember that He IS absolutely sure of the way that I take. I might not have the map, but He most assuredly does. Job 23:12, says, “But He knows the way that I take; When He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” God is not making this up as I go along. He is not changing His mind midstream about His plans for me. He is not confused, or directionally challenged. He doesn’t even have to check which side of the tree the moss is growing on. Just as He told Jeremiah in chapter 1 verse 5, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you…” He has an amazing plan for my life. I need to rest in that.
Secondly, I must know that His way is the best way. All throughout Scripture I find that His ways are perfect (Psalm 18:30) and He is a GOOD God, full of light and love (I John 1:5, I John 4:7). I need to believe this whole heartedly and as the man cried to Jesus in Mark 9:24 to help his unbelief I need to come to Him when I doubt this. I need to confess my unbelief and claim His faith.
Third, I must follow. How am I supposed to follow God without a map? I follow the step He shows me. Then, I follow the next step and the next just as the children of Israel in Exodus. When the pillar of cloud moved during the day, they moved. If the cloud didn’t budge, neither did they. They also had the pillar of fire by night to show them the way. God never left them to wander without purpose. Unfortunately, they had to travel the same path a few times, but it was NEVER without purpose. And, He NEVER left them alone. That holds true for me as well. Hebrews 13:5 says, “…He Himself has said, ‘I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you.’”
As I was mulling this over, I pictured myself walking along a very narrow, dirt path through a dark forest. I am in my armor as commanded in Ephesians 6, my sword is out, my shield is up and I am following a lantern of light that is swinging in front of me. I can hear strange, blood curdling sounds all around me, but what am I concerned about? I am only concerned about the next step. Sometimes I sense something in the darkness, but I know that if I just continue to follow the light, I will only come into contact with what I am prepared to face. Daniel 2:22, says it this way, “It is He who reveals the profound and hidden things; He knows what is in the darkness, And the light dwells with Him.” As long as I am close to my Savior, I am close to the light. He sees the dark forest as clearly as I see in the sunlight. I can rest in that. Everything is under His control.
Sometimes along this path, I do face an enemy; sometimes an obstacle that is obstructing my way. What do I do? I remember Psalm 18:28-29, “For Thou dost light my lamp; The LORD God illumines my darkness. For by Thee I can run upon a troop; And by my God I can leap over a wall.” Whether obstacle or trial I am assured that when God allows it, there is a purpose for it. Not only is there a purpose, but there is assured victory through Him. I Corinthians 15:17, says, “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Why be troubled about the steps I can’t see when I KNOW whatever comes my way must pass through my Savior first? Why be fearful about the noises I hear all around me? The screams in the forest of cancer, sickness, financial ruin, addictions? I can rest in the light of my Guide knowing that if it does come on my path, He will uphold me. When “My foot has held fast to the path; I have kept His way and not turned aside” as Job 23:11 says, I am assured that He will enlarge my steps under me, and that my feet will not slip (Psalm 18:36). This “roadmap girl” can rest in that. This “directional diva” can know most assuredly that He will light my path as needed. I need not worry about the scare tactics in the darkness. I need not worry about which way the moss is growing on the trees. I can rest in the fact that God has my map, He has my direction and He is my light. This “roadmap girl” can then gain the peace that passes all understanding as described in Philippians 4:7 because I KNOW that He has my back. I KNOW He has both sides and I KNOW He is definitely before me, leading and lighting my steps. I don’t even have to have a compass.