Distraction of Ditches

I cried out, “I am slipping!” but your unfailing love, O Lord, supported me.  When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer. Psalm 94:18-19

“You’ll love it. The view is gorgeous!  It’s just beyond that,” my sister-in-law said pointing to the silhouette of a gnarly tree on the horizon.  

We had been hiking this trail in Northern California for about 30 minutes enjoying the scenery of the green rolling hills speckled with wild-flowers along the way. But the trail was becoming more narrow as it switched back and forth up the last climb towards the tree.  We stopped for a water break, took in the expansive views, and cooled down.  After we stepped to the side of the path to let other hikers squeeze by, we returned to our trek.

I knew I needed to keep my eyes on the trail, but I was enamored by the scenery and birds flying overhead. As I pointed to one with excitement, my foot slipped off the trail, I panicked, lost my balance, and started falling.  As I cried out, I felt the hand of my brother-in-law quickly reach out, grab my arm, and swiftly pull me to safety on the path. Getting myself together, we both gasped as we looked at the place I lost my footing. The trail had a sheer edge with a 30 foot drop to a ditch filled with pine trees and briar bushes. 

Realizing the disaster we just averted, we took a few minutes to catch our breath before we resumed our hike to the summit. This time I focused on the path ahead and every step I took. I kept expressing gratitude for my brother-in-law’s quick reflexes as we recalled and described the brief yet harrowing experience for the others.  When we reached the gnarly tree, the view of a beautiful mountain lake nestled between the hilltops was spectacular. I was truly thankful for God’s beautiful creation, and for my brother-in-law’s instinctive reaction to protect and save me from potential danger.  

Have you ever been in a situation where you have cried out, “I’m slipping!” whether it is a physical danger or feeling like you’re losing control in another way? The Psalmist reminds us that the Lord’s unfailing love is always there to support us. Even when doubts fill our mind, the Lord is there to comfort and give us renewed hope and cheer. My near fall was because my attention became sidetracked, causing me to lose my footing. When I falter other times, it is because of my tendency to doubt and second guess myself. Isn’t it amazing that our Lord is there to steady us no matter the reason we begin to fall?

I’m thankful my brother-in-law was able to respond to my peril that day, but I am even more grateful for a God who sees me when I fall, picks me up, and sets me back on course.

Dear Lord, Thank you for being there to protect and guide me in every step I take. Thank you for setting my feet upon your rock of support and reassurance. There are many times when doubt enters my mind, or I become overwhelmed and just need your assurance and love. Forgive me when I don’t feel your presence or question your faithfulness, because you are working in everything, even when I don’t see it.  I am in awe that you care about my smallest cry of despair and will reach out to steady and sustain me.  Amen

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