“A person’s steps are established by the LORD, and He takes pleasure in his way.” Psalm 37:23
Stoneface. Without context that could means several things. Like when you are late for supper again…and your wife gives you the look–stone face. Or you have your eye on a parking spot and someone whips in front of you and you give the other driver the look–stone face. Well here in Southern Illinois, it can also mean a rock formation that when viewed from the side looks like a man’s face.
During the COVID shutdown, Judy and I decided to take a hike and see this natural formation. After work, we slipped on some comfortable shoes and drove out to the trailhead. That is where the story begins. Now this is going to be a two-part deal so be sure and tune in on tomorrow for part two.
So, at the trailhead, several things became apparent rather quickly. One, the trail wasn’t maintained very well. Well, actually it wasn’t maintained at all. There were holes, rocks, roots, and a host of other hazards that made the hike not difficult but challenging. Second, it was wet. There were several places where water had found a way to puddle up (it didn’t practice social distancing) and the result was a mud obstacle course. I should have worn my boots. Third, at times the trail became difficult to follow. Now at no point did it totally disappear but it was a little difficult to see.
Oh, and there was one more thing. Up. The trail went up. That shouldn’t have caught me by surprise since Stoneface was up and I was down. But after a while it occurred to me that this was more up than I thought it should be. The bottom line is this hike was not meeting my expectations and I might have gotten a little grumpy. Judy with her optimistic spirit was chatty all the way up. “Oh look,” she said at a rock by the trail. “Oh look,” she said at a tree growing by the trail. Like I said, I may have been a little grumpy.
After a while we got to the top of the bluff and the trail improved and so did my attitude. I started noticing the rocks by the trail. Do you know what? They were beautiful. I started noticing the trees by the trail. Each one was unique–hand crafted by a God much bigger than me. Within a few minutes I too was quite chatty. God had impressed me.
From the top of the bluff the rock formations were incredible and so was the view. You could see the beautiful Southern Illinois landscape for miles and miles. The handiwork of God was awesome. As we were standing on top of the bluff I looked down and right there, slightly below us, was Stoneface. It was smaller than I expected but more detailed and obvious too. About then it happened. I was glad to be there.
The rocks, roots and holes on the trail were far less significant. The times when the trail seemed difficult to follow no longer mattered. My chatty sweetie that seemed a little annoying on the way up seemed especially beautiful at the top. It was worth it. And just about then it hit me.
God’s plans for me–they’re not always smooth and paved. They have their potholes and puddles. They aren’t always downhill for He is often leading me uphill for a view from the top–to see His grandeur. Psalm 37:23 says, “A person’s steps are established by the LORD, and He takes pleasure in his way.” That means that God directs my life and He is leading me in a way that is for my good and His glory. Always.
Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and don’t lean on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.” 2021–trust. Illness–trust. Personal loss–trust. Unemployment–trust. You get the idea. The path may be a little challenging but the view from the top will be worth it. Always. So, trust Him. Rest in Him. He’s got this. Bro. Dewayne