We took a two-hour nature hike the other day. It was gorgeous but tough, too. At times it seemed like the trail must end at the top of a hill or at a rock face—but we had confidence it would continue and it would be okay. Why?
1) This trail was designed and maintained (to some degree) by a reputable resort.
2) We could see the footprints of others who had gone that way recently. In fact, we’d gotten a recommendation of that trail from friends who were just leaving as we arrived.
3) My husband was with me, to give me a hand in the more treacherous places.
The spiritual applications should be obvious.
And as we went, a song kept cycling through my head:
Footprints of Jesus
Sweetly, Lord, have we heard Thee calling,
Come, follow Me!
And we see where Thy footprints falling
Lead us to Thee.
Footprints of Jesus,
That make the pathway glow;
We will follow the steps of Jesus
Where’er they go.
Then at last when on high He sees us,
Our journey done,
We will rest where the steps of Jesus
End at His throne.
When I was a kid, my family took long road trips halfway across the US to see relatives, camping each night on the way. My brother’s favorite spot was the “bump” behind the front seat (when that was still legal) where he would stand to spot a picnic table for our lunch and point out other sights along the way like, “Deah’s da Zoobi Wibba!” (‘There’s the Missouri River.’)
During our days of riding, we often found ourselves singing—especially songs about the life-is-a-journey metaphor. I still love those songs because I love metaphors. Every day the Lord is my traveling companion, and each day is one day closer to the end of the journey when I’ll reach my real Home! And if I don’t like the place where I have to “camp” along the way, I want to be content knowing that it’s only a temporary stop along the way to my Destination.
Here are the words to a couple of those songs we sang:
Just one day nearer Home as shadows of the night descend
Just one day less to roam as fading twilight color blend
Beneath the starry dome I’ll rest beside my Guide and Friend
With each day’s tramping, nightly camping, one day nearer Home!
Over the sunset mountains someday I’ll softly go
Into the arms of Jesus, He who has loved me so…
Toiling will all be ended; shadows will flee away
Sorrow will be forgotten; oh, what a wonderful day!
Over the sunset mountains heaven awaits for me
Over the sunset mountains Jesus my Savior I’ll see.
John W. Peterson