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Some of my stories are published in:
A Cup of Comfort Devotional for Mothers and Daughters (Adams Media, 2009)
Chicken Soup: What I Learned from the Dog (2009)
Love is a Flame (Bethany House, 2010)
Extraordinary answers to Prayer (Guideposts, 2010)
Love is a Verb (Bethany House, 2011)
Big Dreams from Small Spaces (Group Publishing, 2012)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Are We On the Right Path?

Last Saturday, Bruce and I decided to hike above Sprague Lake.It's only a couple of miles and the climb is gradual. The aspen, mixed with spruce and ponderosa, the rock formations, the glimpses of  high snow-capped mountains through the trees make this one of our favorite early-morning jaunts.
At a junction on the trail we saw a sign for Boulder Creek. We'd never done that hike and I was curious.
"Where does this go? Does it meet up with the Sprague trail but at a higher point on the mountain?"
It took some cajoling, but finally Bruce agreed to explore the Boulder Creek trail with me.
Usually, when  trail is steep, they'll construct it with switchbacks to level it off. Well, this one didn't do that. It followed the creek, straight up. I think if it had been any steeper, we would have been on our hands and knees. I hadn't brought my trusty poles, thinking we were just going to hike the Sprague trail.
I could've used them.
We kept hiking, thinking, at each curve of the trail that, surely, this would be the last steep section.
Surely it must level off eventually and curve to meet the Glacier trail that we usually hiked.
We stopped to take pictures of the incredibly gorgeous cascading, rolicking, frothing, dancing stream.
After about three miles, the steep trail leveled off and we checked our altitude with our GPS. Just about 10,500 feet.
When were we going to meet up with the Glacier trail?
Through breaks in the trees, we could see the back of Long's Peak getting closer and closer. An ominous sign.
"Do you think we should turn back?"
I don't know. What do you think?"
"Gosh, " I said, "we've come this far. It'd be a shame to stop now and then find out that we were really close to the intersection of the trails. Too bad we didn't bring a map, though."
We didn't think we needed a map.
Just then, an older man, traveling solo, came up the hill. He had a map.
We told him what we were trying to find and his eyes got big. "You're never gonna connect with the Glacier trail this way. You're on your way to the Boulder fields, halfway up Long's Peak.
We thanked the man and started back down the trail, feeling foolish that we hadn't thought to pack a map in our day pack.

A lot of people live their lives the same way we hiked that day: without a map, but certain that their way will eventually lead them to a good destination. But no matter how sincere they are, without a map, they can't be sure they'll ever reach the good spot.
Bruce and I had our doubts about the Boulder Creek trail, but we hoped that if we kept pushing on, we'd eventually meet up with a more familiar trail.
But hoping and knowing are two different things, right?
Just because you hope you're going in the right direction doesn't make it so.
Wouldn't you want to be sure. Would you want to trust your whole life with just a hunch?

"Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light for my path." (Psalm 119:105)


  1. Great post, Dena. I sure don't want to trust my whole life to a hunch. Glad I have Jesus to lead the way.

  2. So true, Nancy. My hunches are notoriously inaccurate!

  3. Contrary to popular opinion, men are not the only ones who hate to ask for directions. As human beings, we're often determined to go our own way and get into trouble.

    How much better is it to follow the One, who sees the end from the beginning?

  4. Susan, we thought we were capable of figuring this out all by ourselves. Quite a lesson for us for future unfamiliar hikes. . . and a good analogy for life.