by Molly Dillon / Keizer Campus Principal
On a recent family hike up at Silver Falls, our plan was to traverse the “Winter Trail Loop”, but we left home without the map and once there, had no cell service. It was a lovely day and became much more enjoyable when our trail passed by the visitor center with its blessing of a free map. The guidance of that map made all of the difference in our experience. Had we simply gone our own way, deciding to take trailheads that appeared to be good, we most likely would have veered off the intended path in the wrong direction, turning our refreshingly pleasant 5-mile hike into one we would not have been equipped for.
Often in our search for direction, we fully acknowledge that God has a plan, path, and purpose for our lives, yet we look for guidance in our circumstances, our own thoughts and desires, our friends, and many times, cultural influences. Proverbs 3:5-6 states, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.” (NLT). The Psalmist writes, “You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” Psalm 16:11 (NIV). Nothing surpasses the safety, divine resources, power and presence of God when we are on course and headed in God’s chosen direction.
Yet even when moving in the right direction we encounter the unexpected. Along the path of our hike that afternoon we were suddenly stopped in our tracks. It was not the breathtaking view of the falls we experienced, but that of a young man who decided to leave the path, enter the icy cold and swiftly moving waters to stand precariously near the edge of the falls. After a minute, he slowly made his way back to safety, avoiding the 65-foot descent. I will never know the circumstances by which the young man decided to risk his life, however, it highlights the fact that choosing to forge your own path, or follow one that seems more exciting or “appears to be right” takes us into the enemy’s territory, onto a slippery slope, or down a path to destruction (Prov. 14:12).
Just as all eyes were intently on the young man at the falls, our children’s eyes are intently on our actions. By our example of seeking God and proclaiming his goodness and faithfulness in the midst of each trial and decision, they will place value on learning to trust and pursue God. In the everyday moments that display our lives joyfully surrendered to the Lordship of Christ, we sow seeds of wisdom and righteousness along their path into God great adventure!
– Molly Dillon / Keizer Campus Principal