Make A Way in the Wilderness
The old path had been obliterated by the multitude of floods sweeping through the valley. Over the course of the late winter and early spring, the rains had fallen heavily upon the mountain. The water had nowhere to go but down into the valleys below. Massive logs had been strewn this way and that, like straws spilled on a table, their remains were all that was left, like bones upon the shoreline of a distant war. Now, there were only piles of dark, entangled webs of roots and logs. Their bulk lay wherever the currents had subsided.
One such testament to the disasters of this past season had now blocked the old trail which was once where my weekly crossing of the river would lead. It had been over a year since my last venture. Like a blanket of comfort, vines and forest growth had already claimed their new patron as their own. To once more scale the opposite shore would require finding a new way, a new path; blazing a trail once more through the wilderness. It was as if God was speaking to me this past week when all the events had fallen into place, such that there was finally time to seek out this new pathway. Much like many of our lives at this moment, you too might be waiting on that next door to open. You might feel like those prayers you have lifted over and over again are not reaching through your own ceiling. In this time of waiting, there is learning. In this season of pause, we must seek what we have yet to find in our faith.
One might ask, “Is it even worth the effort to reclaim that old path?” or if your congregation has lived through a natural disaster you might ask, “Is it worth the money to rebuild the church after the storm?” To those fallen on even the direst of life’s circumstances, the question may arise, “How can I even go on living?”
God tells us through his prophet Isaiah, when he states, [i]“Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:19
We often cannot see beyond the next hill or bank of the river. God has put before us the opportunity to blaze new pathways, leaving the old behind. When we find our way is blocked by circumstances beyond our control, or have a tragedy strike, we must first seek Him. When we find God, we must then listen, for when we receive him, his indwelling will become our guidepost. When we learn to listen for that still small voice, we shouldn’t be surprised to find guidance and direction, and often in the most unlikely of places.
The afternoon thunderstorms had been heavy, so it was no surprise to find the river was up. The sandbar, covered with all manner of stone, was now under water; it is my gauge as to when it is safe to cross or not. Having already decided that this would be the day to find out if there was a way possible, I went ahead with the plan. A wiser man might have simply passed for another day; not I. The first few footsteps into the murky turbulence proved my intuition was correct, the current was tearing away at my footing. Scarcely had not one step been taken before the next was nearly washed out from underneath. The crossing was not going to be easy. Not to mention, the distant shore, now covered with a network of vines and briars, would be even more daunting. I had just begun, and it seemed as if all was lost. In the back of my mind, the question arose as to, “Why, why are you doing this?”
Many times, when we are in the midst of our trial, even though we may be within the darkness of the valley of the shadow of death, we are not alone; God is with us. As we take that next step, there are those in our lives watching, like the boats surrounding the ship upon which Jesus had fallen asleep. Each small vessel carried passengers, who also wondered if this may be their doom, waiting for a sign from the boat upon which Christ had found passage. To their amazement, from a distance, they watched as Jesus rebuked his disciple’s unbelief, and then calmed the raging seas. Those too, who are with us each day, watching our demeanor and response to the hardships through which we travail, are likewise inspired by the sometimes seemingly insignificant details of decisions we make; regardless, if it is something we find as trivial or something as horrific as the loss of a family member through a tragedy, each event elicits a similar revelation.
So, as I fought the raging currents to reach the other shore, it was with admirable satisfaction that when I embarked upon scaling the steep embankment, there was already an opening made by the hand of God. The force of the flood had caused not only trees to be washed away, but also the shape of the briars and vines had been swept into uniform patterns, causing them to lay one upon the other, like matting upon the earth. I easily found footing and barely had to cut back but just a few thorny green briars, here and there, until the paved trail of the Collettsville Park was in sight. All of my apprehension and fear had already been taken care of by the Master’s hand. All that was asked of me was to try, to take that first step into the raging torrent and trust in Him.
“When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.”-Isaiah 43:2
When we find ourselves in these times of trial and waiting, we must forge new forays into God’s Word, turning pages we might have never sought before. We are often taken aback at how direct the word may speak to us. Who hasn’t sought an answer from God, and in so doing, opened the Bible at random and found the very text to which your eye had cast upon answering you? But even in our doubt and struggle with waiting, we must keep every present in our mind that He will not leave us in our struggle. The wrath of destruction through which we survive, be it spiritual or physical, is not unnoticed by our Heavenly Father. When we pass through the storm, we will be blessed with the most loving promise, “Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies;” Psalm 103:4
In the silence, God is working on answering your prayers.
Be ever vigilant and patient. It takes time, at least from our humanly perspective, for rivers to emerge from deserts. From the driest and most arid of the human soul can the fruit of the Holy Spirit spring forth, bubbling up unto the presence for all to see; a testimony of having battled through hell and survived by the Grace of God to tell the story.
Step into that torrent, blaze that trail once more and never give up. Christ didn’t die for your sins for you to throw away your life.
You can make it. You have His promise.
Thanks be to God.
Timothy W. Tron lives in Collettsville, NC. with his family. He is the former Director of the Trail of Faith in Valdese, where he still volunteers and helps with tours. He is the author of a new Christian series, “Children of the LIght”, with the first book being, “Bruecke to Heaven”, and his recent book, being the second, “The Light in the Darkness”. He is an active blogger, artist, and musician. Timothy also has a BSEE from UF, and is a Lay Speaker. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit his website at //www.timothywtron.com/