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A New Direction
Photo: Studiomill
It was a beautiful day and I decided to spend time alone in the mountains with God. I took my Bible, a sack lunch, and a journal and started down the trail. It was early June and the birds were singing. I needed this quiet time to think and pray. There were some difficult decisions I was facing and time alone in nature provided the stillness I longed for to hear God’s voice more clearly.

A few minutes down the pathway I ran into a problem. Mud. Lots of mud and water on the trail. I picked my way around the edges but it didn’t get any better. Then I discovered branches. Lots of branches were in my way. In fact, several trees were laying across my pathway. I was perturbed that Forest Service personnel had not maintained this trail. I crawled my way through branches that caught in my clothing and pack. Then I stopped. Ahead of me I saw that my pathway was covered with more mud and branches. It was completely overgrown and uncared for. Now what should I do?

In that moment, God whispered to my heart, “Ask Me.”

“Oh yes, Lord,” I paused, “I came out here to meet with You. What should I do?”

Look Higher

At that moment I felt a distinct impression to look higher. As my eyes turned up the mountain, I saw another trail about 50 feet above me. “Are you telling me to take a different trail, Lord?” I wondered. After untangling myself, I climbed up to the new trail. It was clear and open and led up the mountain in a different direction. “I guess I’ll change my plans and go this way,” I thought as I started in a new direction.

After hiking another hour I found a small clearing where I sat on a log and enjoyed warm sunshine filtering through the tall fir trees. “Lord,” I prayed, “please speak to my heart.” As I waited, I remembered the first trail. I thought of a Bible verse. “There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death” (Proverbs 16:25 NIV).

The Lord reminded me that I often want to be in control of my life and choose my own pathways. But so often I get into a tangled mess. But, if I listen carefully, God will call to my heart and say, “Look higher. Look to Me.”

I laid some big choices at the Lord’s feet that day. In the stillness of nature I realized I was walking down a pathway that was not working out. It seemed right to me. But I needed to change trails. I needed to trust in the Lord more. I needed to look up. And when I looked higher, God pointed a new direction.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5, 6 NKJV).

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By Curtis Rittenour. Copyright © 2011 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ® and the NEW KING JAMES VERSION © 1982.

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