When I don’t know my path

By Lisa Vancelisa-vance

During the family weekend in February 2013, our family rented a cabin at Cypress Hills and went cross country skiing.  On the first day, four of us went out: Kevin, Caleb, Carissa and me.  The kids didn’t enjoy skiing that much, so Kevin and I went on our own on the second day.  We found out there had been cougar sightings and had spotted some tracks leading to a tree right on the trail.  I was nervous. We set out, Kevin skiing faster than me. (You might understand my fear when I say Kevin told me that he didn’t have to ski faster than a cougar, he just had to ski faster than me.)

I tried to ski my fastest and keep up.  We came to a “Trail Closed” sign on the path. Kevin wanted to keep going; so we travelled on through the closed trail.  When it seemed that by this time we should be back to the car, I began, (I wouldn’t call it nagging) asking many times, “Shouldn’t we go back?  I don’t think we should come this way. I think we’re lost!  I’m scared of the cougars.  Hey wait up!”

Finally, we made it safely back to the car.  For me, this experience became a spiritual metaphor.  I struggle with fear, the unknown, trusting and feeling in control. Here is an excerpt from my journal Feb/2013 after the ski trip – talking to God – “I’ve never been down this path before.  Do you, like Kevin, get tired of me asking, ‘Are you sure this is the right path?  Can’t we just go back?  What about the cougars?  Aren’t we in danger?’  (I ended that journal entry with a prayer) I’m scared, Lord, please help me trust you!  I love you!”

I was recently drawn to the story of Jesus and Mary Magdalene.  Mary Magdalene is mentioned in the gospels 14 times.  Do you remember her story?

Mary Magdalene was healed of seven demons living in her.  She gave of her means to support Jesus’ ministry. At the cross, she was with Jesus’ mother. She was the first to arrive at Jesus’ tomb after he had risen.  And who can forget her encounter with the risen Jesus when Mary mistook him for the gardener.

Mary’s story reminds us of the power of a life changed.  Mary was devoted to Jesus.  Jesus had changed her in tremendous ways; and so she clung to Him and wanted to be with Him.  Through some very discouraging and difficult to understand times – when many of the other disciples were locked away hiding or had run away for fear of the Jews – Mary still sought Jesus.  Her story has a beautiful ending, but then the path turned again and Mary had to say goodbye to Jesus again.  And she must have looked forward to the day when she could be with Jesus again.

Do we, like Mary, have a story?  Was there a time when Jesus was so faithful to us that drives our devotion to Him now?  Can we remember those times so we don’t desert Him, even when life gets confusing?  Is there a longing in us that won’t be satisfied and so we seek him even when we don’t know the path?

John 17:26 has been a comfort to me: “I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and I myself may be in them.”

Lord I am amazed at your desire to be known and your promise to live in us through your Holy Spirit.  We want to know you and your love.  And I know it’s an ongoing struggle for some of us: looking to you, then looking away.  Help us to trust you even when we don’t understand the way.  We long to be near you now and fully be with you one day.  It will be awesome to never have to part.  In Jesus name, Amen.

1 Comment

  1. Candy Wise on November 20, 2016 at 3:42 pm

    Lisa Thank you for sharing the skiing example. It was a perfect fit for my everyday. How awesome that
    He knows the way and knows us, thus tries to keep us on the right path. May the Lord continue to bless you with health and strength as your chosen path of service can be a challenge–even though you know you are not alone. He is always near. How blessed we are.

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