Trust the God Who Sees Ahead of You (Psalm 136:13)
By Lia Martin
Are you worried these days? Do you ever feel if you don’t save up, batten down, build defenses, or control every aspect of the outcome, that you’ll be swallowed in deep waters?
Fearing the future is understandable in a world terrorized by viruses, violence, and sin. In fact, generations of people throughout the history of the Bible were also fearful when enemies approached and situations were far less than preferable.
The shocking accounts of danger and destruction in God’s Word can cloud our vision of his deliverance. From the genesis of humanity, we’ve struggled against troubles, but we’re given the choice to seek (and believe) the One who knows the way through.
Walking through a painful passage of my life, I chose to seek answers in a nearby park that’s now one of my favorite places to find God. And since he met with me on this particular day, I’ve developed the hopeful habit of asking God to reveal himself on these solo walks. I can never predict if or how he will, but I’m sure I can trust He’s with me.
I want you to know, too, that as certain as the sun rises, God is communicating with you in ways he knows you prefer. In signals, sounds, or even scents made just for you.
And because he is a God who parts the Red Sea, calms a raging storm, rises in a pillar of cloud toward freedom, and will show us the entire circumference of the rainbow one day, I trust he will use nature to speak with me.
On this particular walk, I was asking him what he would have me know about my current situation. What would you say to me God, to keep my faith? Where are you in this? Will I survive?
To anyone who’s been “messaged” by a bluebird, or led by a butterfly, or drenched by rain in a drought, I get you. God made some of us to hear from the throat of a honeysuckle, or sense him in the earth of a deep-woods hike. And because God knows this about me, he met me here.
As I walked along a sloping hill of trees, the sky began darkening, and a summer wind churned. And then, he appeared.
Roughly ten or so steps ahead of me the leaves turned, waving, as if being pressed. I watched them press inward, just ahead of me, as I walked along. It continued as I walked along...always waving just ahead of me.
I turned around numerous times to confirm—and then delight in—this message. The leaves behind me lay silent. And rhythmically, as I trekked along, the arms of the trees waved joyfully only just ahead. God was showing me Isaiah 30:21 that day: this is the way, walk in it.
Even while a storm was brewing, he was with and ahead of me. Invisible in form, but visible in effect. The leaves behind me? Unshaken. The leaves I had yet to reach? Waving me forward.
As I came to the corner where the path rounded away from nature and toward the parking lot, I saw a tiny painted rock, just sitting there. My contacts were dry from the wind, and sticky from tears. I couldn’t see enough to read the swirls on the rock that looked like a signature. My straining eyes could only make out ‘Lorie.’
Once home, I removed my contacts and pulled close with uninhibited eyes to my little hand-painted treasure.
What did it say?
I am without doubt that God sent a message to the brokenhearted that day to bind up my wounds. He said, follow me, because I know the way. Make no other gods before me. Love me, and I will lead you through all of this to the wonder only I see ahead.
Will you try this? Will you take some time to meet with God in nature, or wherever you feel his presence most? No matter how small the effect of his presence, you have the opportunity to be forever changed.
The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. – Deuteronomy 31:8
Lia Martin loves to inspire others to lean in to the Lord daily. She's a writer, editor, marketer, former Crosswalk.com Faith Editor, and author of Wisdom at Wit's End: Abandoning Supermom Myths in Search of Supernatural Peace. When she's not cultivating words, she loves walking in nature, reading, exploring the latest health trends, and laughing with her two wonderful kids. She blogs at liamartinwriting.com.
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