Our Lenten theme for this year is, Blessings in the Wilderness. For many today the wilderness is a new job in a new town, a new season of life, or a scary new reality; for Jesus it was a desert where He spent 40 days alone.
When we lived in Colorado, I frequently would hike alone with Asher. Blessings during these walks in the mountains took the form of Columbine flowers in late July, a cool creek for resting tired toes, and new friends to talk with along the way. When hiking an unknown path knowing you are on the right path is necessary following markers, trail heads, or paths.
During a road trip to North Dakota, Travis and I decided to hike to a petrified forest in the South Theodore Roosevelt National Park. After the 5 mile drive down a rock road (yes, rock not dirt), we parked at the trail head. Our first 1/2 mile was well laid out and worn from frequent foot travel. At the 1/2 mile mark there was a large wooden marker, nothing more than a 6’ tall 4”x4” post but no well laid path to follow. Looking ahead we saw another wooden marker about 1/4 mile out and so on.
Each of these markers reminds me of touchstones of truth we can lean on during the time of wilderness; Love, Faith, Peace, Light, Life. Although the path to each trail marker was not laid out ahead of us, we can see the next point we need to reach. At times, the markers were across muddy riverbeds, up a steep hill or had a herd of buffalo between one marker and the next. Isn’t this in a way like life?
Can you imagine for a moment that each of these trial markers, is a pillar of truth we can hold too in times of wilderness. We can lean on trusting in God’s love, finding faith when it seems impossible, discovering peace while abiding in the wilderness, choosing the be light when the world wants to snuff us out, and coming into the fulness of life.