God Guiding Us

 

Third Falls in Barnes Gully, Canandaigua, New York

Third Falls in Barnes Gully, Canandaigua, New York

Last time, we talked about how God is with us all the time – both on the trail and if we get off the trail, guiding us back to the right path.  Whether we can feel Him or not, He’s still God With Us.

Walking the road after scrambling along the Big Crack in Lava Beds National Monument, California

Walking the road after scrambling along the Big Crack in Lava Beds National Monument, California

On our last trip to the desert, we were hiking the Lava Falls Route and got off the trail.  Actually, Lava Falls Route isn’t a trail at all, though there are cairns.  We had followed the cairns into the wash, scrambled down the required dryfalls, and then missed the cairns when they exited the wash.

Scrambling the Lava Falls Route, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Scrambling the Lava Falls Route, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

It wasn’t so bad for some of us, who sometimes seem more like mountain goats than hikers.  Whether it’s a rocky scree slope heading up a 12,000ft. peak, a swamp with shaky hummocks of dry ground, a sea of slickrock slopes, or a desert canyon, they’re steady on their feet and ready for the next adventure.  But for others in the group, sliding down the rocks, skittering on the loose stones, and finally finding a way to the bottom only to find another dryfall wasn’t an ideal situation.

The only other picture of Lava Falls that I have currently uploaded.  Oh, well.  Lava Falls Route in Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

The only other picture of Lava Falls that I have currently uploaded. Oh, well.

Finally, one group member went one way, and I went the other way, to see if we could find the trail (I might add that he went the way the GPS said the trail went, and the GPS was wrong).  I scrambled across a scree field praying what to do, if I should even go any further.  God said to my heart, Go over the next ridge to find what you came to see.

Sunset at the Toroweap Campground the night before.  Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Sunset at the Toroweap Campground the night before.

Good, I thought.  I’ll walk over the ridge and see that the trail isn’t on this side of the wash.  I was comforted that God was going to show me the error of my ways without a lot of effort on my part.

A pile of lava rocks a few miles downstream from Lava Falls, along the Whitmore Trail, Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument, Arizona

A pile of lava rocks a few miles downstream from Lava Falls, along the Whitmore Trail, Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument, Arizona

But when I crossed the ridge, there was not only a fairly defined trail, but cairns marking the route.  I scrambled back across the scree to shouting distance to tell the others to come back to the real “trail”.

Along the Tonto Trail below Horseshoe Mesa in Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Along the Tonto Trail below Horseshoe Mesa in Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

I stood on the loose rocks, baking in the summer sun, feeling very humbled.  It wasn’t that I hadn’t trusted God; I had trusted Him (and I would trust Him a lot more before the day was out!)  I had heard God and I had followed His guidance.  The problem was that I had misinterpreted the information.  Yet somehow, God had worked it out anyway.

Volcanic canyon along the Tonto Trail, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Volcanic canyon along the Tonto Trail, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

I learned there, on the scree, that God is not only God With Us when we get it right.  He’s God With Us all the time.  He’s totally dedicated to us meeting the goal He has set for us, and He does what’s necessary to get us there, sometimes with us and sometimes despite us.  He understands our frame (Psalm 103:14).  He is familiar with our struggles (Hebrews 4:15).  His heart is still after those whose hearts are after His heart.

A New Mexico Whiptail Lizard along the Pueblo Alto Loop in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico

A New Mexico Whiptail Lizard along the Pueblo Alto Loop in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico

We want to get it right – of course we want to bring God pleasure; to follow Him in everything!  But even when we mess it up, He’s still there.  He is God With Us, on the trail and off the trail; on the map and in the territory so new the map hasn’t yet been written.  It’s permission to trust; not to be presumptuous, but to trust that we can step out.  That as long as we are following Him, He is there even if we misinterpret His words or even follow the misguided map to the wrong ridgeline, and He will get us back to the right path.

The Colorado River from the Tonto Trail, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

The Colorado River from the Tonto Trail, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona