This is coming to you a little late, but better now than never, right? You might have seen pictures of our ‘little’ hiking trip. Highlights of it were breathtakingly beautiful like the picture below with waterfalls and outreaching overviews and large mossy rocks.
But there is a side to the trip that wasn’t so pretty. I am ashamed to say at one point I stood in the middle of the trail, alone, crying, as I angrily threw Ben’s fifty pound backpack a whole two feet.
Let me give you the story.
We set out on Piney Trail-a 17 mile hike- with two 30 pound backpacks, a map, and some hammocks.
Our first day, we hiked about 8 miles, got lost due to the fact there are NO trail signs and MANY trails, back tracked our steps, got to what we thought was our camp site, and met some guys who told us we were far, far away from where we thought we really were. I took my backpack off to find that the weight had been carried unevenly, and I had welts coming off me 1/4 an inch in about 8 places on my body.
That night, we went to sleep in our hammocks and the temperature dropped to the lower/mid 30s. We didn’t realize we needed hammock pads under our sleeping bags to keep the heat in. We woke up at 2am, then again at 4 and finally started a fire to warm our numb bodies up. We started out at dawn and hiked the rest of the way back from where we now knew we were on the map all the way back to our car.
There isn’t a feeling quite like being lost on a 20 mile trail in the middle of a national forest. As I stood on the trail crying and angry, God softened my heart and he said to me, ‘I am with you’. I had been so caught up in my miserable attitude of being lost that I had forgotten in the hope that I wasn’t actually alone.
As I realigned myself with the heart of God, I noticed the beauty of the woods around me, I remembered that we had packed all the provisions we needed for days, and lost the fear. Sometimes I feel that way in life, like I’m floating from one tired day to the next and I’m never going to get out of the woods. The unknown aspect of the journey becomes too much for us to bear- we cannot seem to trust God enough to blindly follow Him. It seems to be worse when something really stressful in life is happening, too. I think at many times in our week, we are all that person on the trail in the middle of the woods walking around aimlessly screaming, “God? Where are you? Where am I? How do I get back to you?” The truth is, He never left.
We can choose to follow Him on the trail daily. And it helps he left us a pretty good map.
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”