Friday, March 16, 2012

Staying The Course

The white blazes disappeared, but we stayed the course.

The Foothills Trail of South Carolina is marked with white blazes. My daughter and I were on the most remote section, following our guide book and looking for landmarks assuring us we were walking the right way. Most importantly, we looked for blazes.

When properly marked, blazes are so close the next one can be viewed from the previous. But the area we entered wasn’t. It had been one mile since our last sighting, and I was getting worried we had missed the trail. We tried a few side trails but quickly returned to the main footpath. Staying the course-even when unsure, finally paid off. Eventually a white blaze appeared, and we uttered a sigh of relief.

Elijah stayed the course. He had the tough job of preaching when no one seemed to care or listen. Disobedience was the norm, and God’s judgment was on the way. After announcing a three year drought to wicked King Ahab, God instructed his prophet to rest by Kerith Brook. It would provide water and ravens would bring him food, but some time later the brook dried up because there had been no rain in the land. (I Kings 17:7)

I’ve had a few brooks dry up. Those times when we do what God says but life takes a nosedive anyway. Job is terminated. Car breaks down and there’s no money for repairs. College investments are tarnished by a sour economy. A child runs away or is tragically killed. A spouse dies. Decisions must be made about aging parents.

Obedience doesn’t assure rosy paths; just God’s blessings-sometime in odd forms. God used unclean birds to feed his prophet and a queen’s death threat to remind him he often works out of the ordinary.

But staying the course even when the next landmark isn’t evident expresses God honoring faith. In the midst of misunderstanding, discouragement and confusion, God will guide you away from avenues leading to darkened dead ends.

Prayer: Merciful Lord, enable us to stay the course even when the route is littered with uncertainty and struggles.
Forward this devotion to a friend and keep the encouragement going?