In dreaming of the future and seeking God for the next steps, I was recently reminded of a powerful past experience. Funny how that happens! Dreaming of the future sometimes reminds us of the past. Yet, when I consider how many times the word “remember” is used in Scripture, it doesn’t seem funny at all. Rather, it becomes another demonstration of God’s Love and touch upon my life.
Several years ago on a remote trek in Nepal, I discovered “the Way”. Before I go any further, let me first say that Nepal is a magnificent discovery in and of itself. This small but incredible country is packed with the most beautiful scenes on the planet, not to mention 8 of the world’s 10 highest mountains!! I have visited several times and even lived for a short period. As I reminisce even now, I long for its hospitality, rich culture, and beautiful people. All that lacks is the name of Jesus. But He is coming! Soon, He will be declared on every mountaintop and in every valley!
Second, let me set the stage of this trek for you. We were a day away from ascending over Larke Pass, roughly 17,000 feet. The land at this altitude was barren, to say the least. There were no settlements, no people, and little wildlife. The only sounds were the whipping of the wind and the occasional kick of a rock. It was like a vast, empty desert with no end or destination in sight. In fact, when I looked out, I could not detect a trail or path. I was quite vulnerable traveling alone. I had no idea where I was. No cell phone. No food. I didn’t speak the language. I was completely dependent upon my guide and the Living God. I had been praying for God’s strength to endure and seeking some sign that I was OK and headed in the right direction. My only choice was to follow. I didn’t know the way.
Spiritually, this may sound familiar. Many of us can relate to those seasons where there is little or no fruit. We may feel alone and stripped and the only sounds we hear are our own pleas as we fumble upon a path that seems hidden and obscure. We question our direction and next step. Similarly, our best choice is to follow our Guide.
Despite the landscape’s lack of life, its beauty was overwhelming. Still, I spent most of the journey with my head down, reciting memorized scripture like cadence to keep my feet in time. Each step was intentional, but I took plenty of rest breaks to look around and praise God for the glory of Creation. Every couple of hundred meters or so, I would pass a tall metal stake. At first, I thought they were random. Finally, I asked my guide what they were. I was surprised by the profound response his answer elicited from my spirit. He simply replied, “the way.” My spirit quickened. Under my breath, I finished his statement with “the Truth, and the Life.” It amazes me still that a simple word from the Lord has the power to sustain and even revive us! Seemingly all alone and lost in this foreign land, God faithfully remained with me as He does even now. My Provider. My Protector. My Way.
For the remainder of that amazing trek, each metal stake I passed was a marker of victory! I was following. God was leading. When we crossed Larke Pass and descended to our campsite, I collapsed in joy. . .maybe just fatigue. I made it! It was a night of celebration. But the trek wasn’t over. We woke the next morning and kept walking following the way.
Today, as I dream and look out at the path ahead of me, I’m reminded of God’s faithfulness. I take a breath. I am in foreign territory; the path seems difficult and obscure. I cling to the Word to keep in time with God’s rhythm. Each step is intentional. I don’t know the way, but I’m on the trek and I’m looking for the next metal stake. I continue to walk and follow knowing God is my Way, my Truth and my Life. When I make it out of this valley and over the pass, much celebration will ensue!! But in the morning when I wake, I know I will continue walking.
“How lovely on the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who announces peace and brings good news of happiness, who announces salvation, and says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’” (Isaiah 52:7)