I have always enjoyed nature, particularly when I can incorporate sports with it. Hiking appeals greatly to me. Here in the Northeast Georgia mountains, where I am privileged to call “home,” the Appalachian Trail begins. About a 2000+mile trek from Georgia to Maine, enthusiasts have picked particular pieces along the way to have the bragging rights of hiking the AT (at least a portion of it). I am one such enthusiast. To hike the entire trip would take someone at least 5 months to a year and cash resources. It is a dream of mine but one I do not see fulfilling. It is just fun to imagine.
There is a particular stretch of trail that I like. It starts at Three Forks Stream Valley and ends at Springer Mountain. Approximately 8.6 miles, the variety of terrain and the beauty of the streams is indescribable.
Years ago, I found myself hiking alone to clear my head and pray. I hadn’t been on this particular trail before. I wasn’t certain what was ahead of me or for that matter behind me. The sounds of the rushing creeks were almost deafening as the trail changed from sure-footed to rocky paths. The scent of Mountain Laurel and the thickness of the rhododendron caused me to stop momentarily and take it all in…and I thought of David.
In Psalm 18, David is writing because God has delivered him from his enemies, particularly Saul.
As I stood in the midst of all the beauty, I started to quote the words I’d read so many times, “I love you, Lord, my strength. 2 The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. 3 I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and I have been saved from my enemies. 4 The cords of death entangled me; the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me. 5 The cords of the grave coiled around me; the snares of death confronted me. 6 In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears. 7 The earth trembled and quaked, and the foundations of the mountains shook; they trembled because he was angry.”
God was angry because someone was messing with His son. Let me tell you, that same God who adored David, adores you. Don’t mess with His people. He will come down like a hurricane. When we call on Him, He will come down and rescue us. And not to stand around a campfire and be friends again kind of revenge…no, when the enemy messes with you and me, God’s precious children, He will swoop down with all His might. Be assured, children of God, you are His temple, and His temple will be protected.
Psalm 18:36, “You provide a broad path for my feet, so that my ankles do not give way.”
There are times when God asks us to take a certain path and the uncertainty of the direction causes us to fear the next step. David felt the same way; but God will not even allow us to turn our ankle on the rocky trail. He will broaden the path we are on. The terrains of life can be tough: rocky, steep, twisted, narrow, and dark. Life’s journeys can be overwhelming. But David’s words, filled with praise for our God, affirm for us, that even in the toughest of times, God is there.
Some of you may enjoy hiking as well; consider this the next time you are out walking and praise Him for His goodness. Every step you take, God is broadening the path, monitoring the roots, providing the safety net, and strengthening your steps. We can trust God to keep our feet from slipping.