But one part of hiking that I don't care for is trailblazing. Trailblazing is the process of creating a path where one doesn't exist. It is the equivalent of "going where no man has gone before". Well, maybe not quite that dramatic, but you get the idea. There is no set trail, no map, no markers. Nothing. I do not like this process. First off, I'm terrible with directions. Without a trail, I don't even know in which direction I'm heading. Second, the absence of a trail means the presence of trees, brush, briars and other obstacles. On the few occasions we've been trailblazing, I came out of the woods scratched, bruised and looking like some form of dirt monster. Not my cup of tea! Nope! Give me a trail. Easy or difficult--it doesn't matter. But please give me a plain path!
(I feel I must let you know that this post has just taken an unexpected turn. I had another point in mind, but the Lord just turned my thoughts in another direction, and who am I to argue with Him?)
As I typed the sentence prior to the parenthetical insert, I was reminded of a verse from one of my favorite Psalms: Teach me thy way, O LORD, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies. (Psalm 27:11)
Do you ever feel like you're trailblazing through life? You've turned from side to side, and yet there seems to be no "right way" to go. As you wander through the brush and bramble, you cry out, "Lord, lead me in a plain path. Show me the way!" It's difficult. It's tiring. It's frustrating. But it's also optional. Yes, that's right. Trailblazing through life is our choice. God always provides a way out (I Corinthians 10:13). We may not see it because our focus is off, but it's there. Or, maybe we do see it, but we don't want to go that way so we decide to trailblaze instead. Oh, me!
The few times that Jason and I decided to trailblaze, it was just that--a decision. There were other paths we could have taken. We could have taken the clearly-marked trails. But no, we decided to go our own way. It was our decision, so it didn't make much sense for me to complain afterward (or during, for that matter). The same is true in our daily walk. If we make a conscious effort to go our own way, is it right for us to complain to God about the mess we're in? Is it fitting for us to accuse Him of not providing for us or not guiding us? No, but we do it anyway.
But here's the great part--God still loves us, and He still cares. He wants what is best for us. Even when we've gone off the path, He gently (and sometimes not-so-gently) guides us back to where we're supposed to be. He helps us get back on track, and He leads us back to the safety of His arms.
You know the worst part about trailblazing? It's not the dirt and grime. It's not the lack of direction. It's not the many obstacles. No, the worst part is that we have to walk single-file. There simply isn't room or the means to walk side-by-side when trailblazing through the woods. On the path, however, there are always sections where Jason and I can walk hand in hand. The path of life is the same. We can trailblaze alone, or we can walk down the marked path, hand in hand with our Lord. The choice seems so obvious. Why do we complicate it?