Saturday, August 29, 2020

Treading the Muddy Waters - Martin Wiles

Then Moses raised his hand over the sea, and the Lord opened up a path through the water with a strong east wind. The wind blew all that night, turning the seabed into dry land. Exodus 14:21 NLT
My brother and I plodded along the muddy trail, not knowing what was ahead.
Before work schedules, age, and health issues interfered, monthly trips to the mountains was a regular way of life for me and my brother. On one such hike, we parked just off the interstate at a gravel parking lot to access a trail that would lead us to beautiful Cataloochee Valley—a place we had visited by car but never on foot.
What we didn’t know was that the trail was also a horse trail. Though we didn’t see any, what they left behind evidenced their presence. Heavy rains from the previous weeks made the trail muddy, so we couldn’t see what we stepped in. Mud crept up to our knees, but we trudged on.
The sites didn’t disappoint us. We saw several old cabins, remains of homes once occupied by residents who had their land bought by the National Park Service when they established the park. At the end of our journey, an old church with a cemetery nearby sat awaiting us—one of the churches valley congregants of long ago met at to worship.
As my brother and I trod the muddy trail, we never imagined the beauty that awaited on the other side. I doubt the Israelites who had just escaped Egyptian slavery did either. To get there, however, they had to cross the Red Sea. God took care of parting it—and of drying the ground so they didn’t sink into the mud as they crossed.
God’s plan for our lives isn’t always what we might imagine, or desire. His plan often carries us through muddy areas where we think we’re sure to sink, but God always dries up the path enough for us to make it through. If the path God designed was always easy, our faith wouldn’t grow or stretch. Neither would it bring God glory, which is another reason He takes us these ways.
Jesus suffered and said His followers would as well. Through the muddy paths—the sufferings—God sanctifies us … sets us apart … in our attitudes, emotions, actions, and words. And through the process, He brings us to more beautiful places than we could ever have imagined.
Don’t fear the muddy trails of life. God has something better ahead.
Prayer: Father, we trust You to guide us along whatever paths You deem appropriate and that will make us more like You.

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