Thursday, July 30, 2009

Follow the Leader

Aspen Park is a wonderful 100-acre park in Gaylord. It has nearly 2 miles of trails through mostly forest and some open areas along with mountain bike trails that cut through the woods. We always hope to see some kind of wildlife and perhaps come nose to nose with elk who might come up to the fence that surrounds their own park. We enjoy walking, riding bikes, or skiing cross country.

Several years ago, Dennis and I went for a night-time walk along the paved trails. It was a beautiful summer night, although there was no moon so we were very thankful for the lights along the path. We enjoyed the night sounds and quiet conversation. Suddenly the lights went out. Now we knew why we appeared to be the only ones out there. We didn't realize it was "closing time."

I'm not sure if we didn't have our cell phones with us or if we weren't getting service. At any rate, we couldn't call anyone. The only options were to spend the night out there or inch our way out somehow--which would be tricky since there are several looping trails. We clung to each other and shuffled along, listening for the sounds of civilization, knowing we were off track when we slipped off the pavement. Eventually we wandered into the lights of the parking lot. It was a fun adventure, but it certainly would have been a lot easier to find our way with a leader who knew the way through the darkness, who could shed some light for us.

We walked the trails with Gracee, during the day, when we were up for Alpenfest. Gracee wanted to hike to Beaver Pond Trail and climb down the rutted path that leads to a pond filled with water lilies. I don't know if there is really a beaver in there, but there is a picture of one on the map, and we always stand quietly at the edge of the water, waiting and hoping.

At any rate, Gracee was impatient to get there, and as we approached the pond, even seeing it through the trees, she insisted on taking a little path she saw. I told her several times it was not the right one; it just looked like it. Finally I said, "Papa's in the lead. Follow the leader."

The right path was just ahead. Had she taken the one she demanded to, she would have missed her vision.

Wow! How many times have I missed God's best for me by being impatient and running off on my own down a dead-end or counterfeit path instead of waiting a little longer? How many times have I stamped my foot and insisted on following my own plans and acted according to the stubbornness of my heart? How many times have I tried to stumble in the darkness alone rather than clinging to Him, the source of all light?

I just need to follow the Leader.

"I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore, I hate every wrong path. Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path." Psalm 119:104-105

"I guide you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths. When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; when you run, you will not stumble." Proverbs 4:11-12

Are you following the Leader?

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