Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Faithfully Following the Trail

Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail is an act of faith.  For a northbound (NOBO) hiker sometimes the PCT takes you south, east, west, any direction it seems except North. I need to simply follow whatever direction and wherever it takes me.  Just stay on the correct trail. Yesterday I was hiking east and knew the trail would turn north soon.  When I saw the sign and the trail junction, I just knew the PCT turned north here. I made the turn northward and blew past the sign without even looking.  I knew, I was certain.  Boy, was I ever wrong.  My dumb mistake cost me one and a half bonus miles.  Bonus = wrong turn.  The PCT is well signed.  A five second look would have prevented extra hiking.  In this instance, the trail was screaming, "Keep straight." It was so obvious .  Between trail junctions, there are more subtle signs (diamond-shaped aluminum plates) that say, "you're on course.  Full steam ahead." And the trail provides.  Other long-distance hikers on the same trail who can tell you about water and campsites.  And locals who can tell you things not in the PCT guidebook.   Hiking the PCT is also about due diligence--watching for signs, reading the signs, and gathering information from the other hikers.

Following Jesus is like hiking the PCT.  It is an act of faith and an act of due diligence.  We may have a plan, but Jesus has another idea in exactly the opposite direction.  We are called to follow Jesus even if He takes us in what seems to us like the wrong direction and doing things not in our plans.  He leads, we follow.  When I made the wrong turn I used my intuition without looking at the sign.  When I do things in my own strength, my own way, it is likely that I say and do the wrong things. And in the process I offend someone else.  If I choose a mid-course correction, I say, "I'll not do that again." and move on.  On the trail you must backtrack to where you went wrong.  When I have offended someone or done them wrong, I need to go back to that person and make it right and seek forgiveness. 

Due diligence as a Christian means time in prayer, reading the Word, worship with other believers.  Due diligence also means listening to the Holy Spirit and to the people God places in our lives.