Back on July 1st, my dog, Ginger, and I were continuing our quest to get to a high mountain lake. We had made several attempts in June, but the snow levels prevented us from making it all the way. Today was going to be the day. After all, it was now July so surely the snow would be melted enough.
We set out across Rainbow Trail and then up Goodwin Lake Trail. Aside from the many trees that had fallen across the trail, we were making good time. Then, less than a mile from the lakes, the snow became deeper and completely covered the trail. But I was determined and used some basic navigation skills to keep going.
We ended up above the lake which provided a beautiful view that we wouldn’t have otherwise gotten. After lunch beside the clear waters, it was time to head back home. The problem was that the trail was completely covered and going back the way we came wasn’t the ideal solution. Somehow I had to figure out how to find the trail again.
An avalanche saves the day
A couple miles below the lake, there was an avalanche that had gone across the trail. On the way up, I had taken a picture of the debris field as it was an amazing sight to see. Since the avalanche had made a roughly 150 to 200 foot wide path of destruction down the side of the mountain, I figured that if I found it I could find the trail.
I knew to follow the creek running out of the lake, so I started down. Staying on the upper side of the creek, I headed to find my avalanche.
After some adjustments for fallen trees and steep drops, we came out into the avalanche’s debris field. Now where was the trail? Fortunately, I was able to look at the picture and figure out where I was standing in relation to the downed trees. It took me a while as the view from below (where I took the picture) was different than from where I was above, but sure enough, we found the trail.
Lost in life
As we journey through life, we are going to have events and circumstances that cause us to lose our way. I’m guessing that I’m not the only one who gets lost in the emotions, relationships, and circumstances of life.
It may be good things in life. Graduating high school and heading out on your own, getting married, having kids, becoming an empty nester, parenting adult children. These are all good things but when you encounter them, the trail ahead may be unclear.
It could be difficulties that try to knock us out. The loss of a loved one, being fired from a job, a major illness, the betrayal of a friend. When difficult situations cover the trail, how do we find our way again?
Look for the avalanche
The good Sunday School answer is to pray and trust the Lord. While prayer and trust are essential, we need to do something. Sitting in our misery doesn’t move us forward. Besides, who wants to be lost on the mountainside?
Maybe you can phone a friend. The value of a friend that can listen and help you navigate the situations of life is priceless. Unfortunately, your friend may not be on the mountain with you and able to help find the trail.
Think about Job’s friends. They meant well, but they truly could not relate to the depth of Job’s loss. Some of what they had to say was actually harmful instead of helpful.
Sometimes, when you are on the mountain alone, you need to go back to a significant place in the past. I call them milestones. A time when God spoke so clearly. An anchor of faith.
Healing the destruction
Sometimes, to move forward, we have to go to places of deep hurt that haven’t been healed. Much like the avalanche caused a field of destruction and debris, we all have experienced hurts. It may be a time when a friend stabbed you in the back, piercing your heart, or you were abused, or you had a moral failure. Some hurts are bigger than others, but they all matter.
In our work with ministers and their families, we spend a lot of time looking for the roots of the symptoms and finding healing for those past hurts. The path forward almost always requires healing from a past event.
Forgiveness is one of the biggest keys to healing. The process of forgiveness is not easy, but it is well worth the work. Unforgiveness is effectively a prison that we are held in, and we have the key to get out. To learn more about forgiveness, check out the free copy of a chapter from our book.
In addition to forgiveness, we may need to deal with other aspects of the hurt. There may be a need to clean up the emotional attachments of the memories, or there may be flesh bonds and soul ties that need broken. Some of us carry great weights of shame from our past that we need to give to God. Others have guilt that keeps them firmly anchored in the past and unable to move forward in life. Whatever you are burdened with, the Lord is more than able to provide you freedom and hope.
Walk it out
What are the avalanches in your life? Are they places that provide security and bolster your faith? Do you have places that need healing?
Our past experiences of trials and victory can be like the picture I took, providing perspective and ability to regroup. Because God is consistent and faithful in character, we can depend on Him for our healing. He really enjoys walking with us through the journey of life.
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