“Lost in the Woods”
~Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths (Proverbs 3: 5-6)~
One of the activities both my wife and I have encouraged in our children is a love of the outdoors. At six months, the twins began their trail adventures, strapped into a front mounted baby carrier allowing them the maximum view of their surroundings. We moved on to “safaris” in their toddler years as I towed them through the forest on either a wagon or toboggan. My wife would follow close behind to ensure they didn’t fall out or put something in their mouths. By the age of four, Simon and Sophie began to run ahead on the trails they knew so well, looking for snakes, bugs, worms, crayfish and “other interesting things” as Sophie would say. Rules needed to be established as we watched their blonde heads disappear into the foliage. I began instructing them on the “Rules of the Forest” —
1. Mom or Dad must be in sight at all times
2. Never leave the trail — don’t go wandering off
3. If you get lost, stand in one spot, call for help and wait
Each time we arrived at the forest, I felt compelled to review the rules. At the beginning of one excursion I asked Sophie, “What would you do if you got lost in the forest?” Her response was unexpected. She looked up at me and said confidently, “I would sit under a tree and pray to God for help.” There was no doubt in Sophie’s mind that God would look after her; all my meticulous training came second. To be very honest, that would not have been my first response if I was lost in the forest. I would re-trace my steps on the trail, check my map, look for fence lines/streams or check to see if my phone had reception. In a crisis situation, my default would be to rely on my knowledge and training, first and foremost. Prayer would come only when all other measures failed.
My daughter’s response to my question was convicting. How many times do I face a problem at home or at work and rely on my own training and understanding? Do I look to my heavenly Father for help and assistance? The answer too often is “no”. Sophie taught me that in times of trouble, God wants us to trust in Him without reservation, recognizing that He is ultimately in control. However, we instantly try to work out a solution on our own, believing we know best, when we should look to our Father instead for guidance. We flounder and become lost as we try to navigate life on our own, when we have a Father who can show us the way. We fail to see that this journey can be so much more rewarding when we keep our eyes set on God. Since that walk in the forest, I have tried to put into practice what my daughter knew in heart to do. Just like the rules I created for my children, I believe God has “Rules of the Forest” for His children too —
1. Keep God in sight at all times
2. Follow His pathway; don’t blaze your own trail
3. If you get lost, call on Him and He will provide