Hike to nowhere
October 25, 2018 at 6:00 AM
Nathan Stob, Deb Den Herder and Dr. Wrede Vogel make their way up a hill on a hike during a Luke Society Staff retreat day on Oct. 24. (Photos by Dan Breen)
Hike to nowhere
By Dan Breen
The Luke Society staff got out of the office one day this week for a time of strategic planning, prayer and fellowship at a cabin not too far from our office.
After talking business for most of the morning, we thought there would be value in meeting with God in the beauty of His creation on some of the hiking trails in the Big Sioux River valley.
It struck me that once you get on the trails, you lose a lot of perspective about where you are and where you’re going. We had little in the way of maps or signage to guide us. Much of the exploring was trekking through sketchy deer trails with no idea where they would lead us.
Though it was never stated, the most natural destination for this hike was probably the river bank. It seemed, at times, like we were getting close, only to be rerouted by the path in a different direction. Occasionally, we’d get peeks of the river through the leafless trees.
After hiking a while, we ended up in a clearing were we finally found the water. We quickly learned it wasn’t actually the river — only an area that had been flooded by the the river a few weeks earlier.
We never did make it to the river. And we only saw it in glimpses.
As we hiked back up toward the cabin we climbed to the crest of hill which provided a spectacular panoramic view of the area. It wasn’t until we got to that spot that we could clearly see the path of the winding river. A different perspective showed us everything we couldn’t see when we were surrounded by hills and trees.
Our ministry directors around the world are facing a similar uncertain perspective as they live out their callings in faith. More often than not, they find themselves in situations where it’s hard to see why the Lord has led them down a particular path. They encounter violence, theft, broken homes, addictions, persecution of faith and many other troubling circumstances.
Aside from pinning it on evil and sin, it’s hard to know why.
It’s the same way in all of our lives as we go through struggles and unforeseen valleys.
Sometimes the Lord allows us to look in hindsight and understand why certain situations or people were brought into our lives. In other cases, we may no learn the full story until we reach Heaven’s pearly gates.
But we can be confident that above there is a God who knows each spider web path of our lives. He’s given us the Holy Spirit and His Word to help navigate us on that heavenly journey. And some day we will meet up with him in all his glory.
Until then, we follow in faith.
(You can see more photos from the retreat day by going to the Luke Society Facebook page.)
The Luke Society staff marches its way up a tail near the Big Sioux River west of Larchwood, Iowa, on a staff retreat day Oct. 24.