Yesterday, I decided to go for a walk in the woods. I wanted to see the hermitage Thomas Merton built. It was about a mile hike along a beautifully wooded path painted with yellow, red, and orange leaves. A beautiful serene chilly walk that wound through trees and past a lake.
When I arrived at the hermitage, it was beautiful, not in a fancy way but with a simple humble beauty. I walked in and read the beautiful messages on the walls. Jesus’ birth, death and resurrection were all represented in that room. There was a book where you could leave a message of prayer and thanksgiving. Three full books containing God’s praise. If you ever had a doubt that God exists, after reading these prayers, you won’t.
When I left the hermitage, I decided to take a different path back to the Abbey. I had a very simple map to help me find my way. But the more I walked, the more I realized I was getting deeper into the woods and I started feeling lost. The more I walked, the more nervous I felt. I started to get cold and tired and I definitely hadn’t brought the gear I needed for a long hike (in fact I was wearing flip flops, having left my shoes at home).
As the fear crept in, I started doubting the direction I was going. All of a sudden, in the midst of my worry, I heard a very distinct voice say “Walk with me my child”. I knew God would guide me on this path. I kept walking through twists and turns, up and down steep slopes and when more fear would creep in, I would tell myself to trust.
I followed the path and all of a sudden, I was out of the woods. The sun came out from behind a cloud and it warmed my face. I realized at that moment I was standing alone; a mere blip in the wide expanse of hills and valleys. One of the most beautiful views I have ever encountered was stretched before me. God led me here so I could see his beautiful creation in a whole new way. He led me there so I could bask in his glory. My ½ hour walk turned into a 2 ½ hour hike, but it was all part of God’s plan.
Isn’t this how life works? Life is full of twists and turns, steep hills, deep valleys, feeling lost, cold and worried. By putting our trust in God, even through our struggles, He will walk with us to find beauty at the end of the journey.