I settled in the back seat of an Uber car the other day, folded my white cane and stuffed it in my bag. As I usually do, I began a conversation with the driver.
As expected, we became friends. That's because I ask questions that prompt them to share and keep sharing about their lives.
This last driver told me about his brother who wrote the guidebook for the Appalachian Trail. I learned this adventure can take from five months to 10 years to complete. Gulp.
But with the guidebook's help, the hike is doable. In it, he details all the challenges, the best gear to bring, places to avoid, potential dangers, list of easier routes, best places to eat, how to find laundry mats, lodging and so on.
Whew! Sounds like more than I can handle.
Life's Long Hike
But whether we like it or not, we're all indeed on a long hike called life. And the path is often filled with challenges, unexpected turns and obstacles.
The good news is that much like the guide for the Appalachian Trail hike, God wrote the guide for us to follow and reach the destination called peace.
Not sure where you are on that hike? Or maybe "peace" is a foreign word in the midst of this world's chaos?
Good news; the guide to find that peace is free, available and in the language any hiker can understand.
Let's Overcome Obstacles
With that guide in our hearts, we're ready to conquer obstacles of any kind.
- We need a companion. We need encouragement. We need a comforting word. And desperately need someone to tell us that all will be okay. That's why God's peace comes through this truth: "Indeed, may he deliver the needy when he cries; the poor also, and him who has no helper.
May he have compassion on the poor and needy, and save the lives of the needy" (Ps. 72:12-13).
- Oh, those difficult and unexpected turns of heartache that barge in. Most are out of our control. Some crash in because of other's sins. Yet, God knows the oppression against our soul, and right when we cry out for help "He will judge the world in righteousness; He will give judgment to the peoples in uprightness. The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble" (Ps. 9:9).
- Fear visits. We fear we won't make it to the finish line. When we grumble about the sorry turn of events and the unfairness, when we long for His presence, peace fills us because "God is our refuge and strength, a well-proven help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains shake with its swelling. Selah" (Ps. 46:1-3).
- Gloom hovers over. When no one understands. When most cannot help, peace conquers sadness. "This poor man cried, and the Lord heard, and saved him out of all his troubles" (Ps. 34:6).
- Helplessness invades. But God offers His peace through this invitation: "When clouds of grief try to overtake you, ask Me for consolation and relief. Cry out to Me in your times of trouble, and I will save you from your distress" (paraphrased from Ps. 107:19).
- Frustration won't let up. When we walk in circles around the same mountain of adversity, tears blur our vision; the path looks crooked and rough. That's when His guide instructs to "Then they cried unto the Lord in their trouble, and He saved them out of their distresses" (Ps. 107:6).
Better days are coming; hang on to the guidebook. The one who wrote it is with you. He never abandons or leaves you. And with Him by your side, there is no fear. There's only strength for each step. Reassurance for every turn. And He ushers the peace that carries power.
Father, how often, with a restless heart, I've embarked on the hike with my own plans and my own map in hand. Forgive My prideful ways and grant me a heart of humility. Show me how to follow Your steps, to allow Your guidebook to lead me. And find peace as I learn to walk on the path You prepared for me, in Jesus' name.
What guide are you using for your hike today?
Janet Perez Eckles is an international speaker and the author of four books. She has helped thousands conquer fear and bring back joy.
This article originally appeared at janetperezeckles.com.
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