Unfamiliar Paths

July 1, 2016

I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them. -Isaiah 42:16

Many of you know that I live on Casper Mountain in Wyoming during the summer. In my opinion, with mountain living comes adventures and exploring unfamiliar places. Recently, I took my cousin Chad (and Wyoba maintenance man) on an adventure for the books. We have been on many adventures and covered many miles together, but this one was different than any other that we had been on. It is not uncommon for us to go on an evening drive after our camp duties are finished for the day. We both thoroughly enjoy wildlife, taking photos, and taking in the smell of the sage brush. This particular evening, we left camp around 6:30pm and I wanted to take Chad to a new place that he had never been before. The loop that I took him on was around 10-15 miles from camp. The road went from smooth dirt roads to rough rocky roads to the point of bouldering two-tracks. Of course we had my 4-wheel drive truck and thankfully it has a higher clearance than your average vehicle. I had been on this loop before but it had been a few years. There were parts of it that I did not really remember and we may have taken a wrong turn.

The ironic part about this road is that it is supposed to take you to “Ponderosa Park” so, you think that the average family vehicle would get you there. Well, spoiler alert (unless you have been there), there really is no park and it is a two-track for off-roading vehicles only. I thought our evening drive would be about an hour, but 2 hours into the drive we found ourselves a bit lost. Like I said before, I think we took a wrong turn somewhere and that took us down a road, well, small two-track that led us to an open field. We could see exactly where we were, but there were no roads in the direction that we needed to go. Mind you, the sun was starting to go down and there was no cell service in this area for us to check our GPS’s or call someone. At this point we were starting to think a few concerned thoughts of maybe we would be camping out in the truck overnight, we could run out of gas, we may need to hike out of here and come back later for the truck. We had the brilliant thought that we could just follow the fence line in the field and it should eventually take us to a road we could take back. However, upon further investigation the fence had signs on it that said, “No trespassing” and “Violators will be shot!” If you are at all familiar with how serious trespassing is in Wyoming, you know to take these signs serious! Chad and I decided not to risk our lives and we turned around and took part of the two-track back to a different turn. We actually ended up doing the loop successfully after a few different turns, scaling some boulders and trees in the truck, running out of drinking water, and some concern later. We made it home safe at 9pm, just before the sun set completely.

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Needless to say, this truly was an awesome adventure for us! One for the journals, for sure! I am sure my second mom, Karen Van will be checking in on us after reading this, but we had a blast! This experience made me think of this verse in Isaiah and how it relates so closely to our lives. Some times in life we think we know where we are going, but we take a few wrong turns and end up in places that we did not necessarily want to be. In terms of leadership, there are times we are trekking down unfamiliar paths and we have people following us. It can be concerning or scary and there is always a risk of taking the wrong turn and leading our followers down a dangerous or dead-end road. There is hope though, and that it my favorite part about this verse. God says that even in moments of blindness, He is going to lead us down paths that we are unfamiliar with. He is going to be our Guide because He knows the way and no path has not been blazed by Him already. God will smooth out the potholes, remove the obstacles, and light the way. All we have to do is have a willing spirit to follow Him no matter what the road looks like and trust that He knows where He is taking us.

Chad and I got to enjoy some beautiful scenery, we watched a fox come right up to us, and shared our experience with each other. We even prayed that we would make it home, that God would show us the way and that we would remain safe on the journey. Guess what? He did not disappoint! He was there through it all and never left our side. Trust me, God knows exactly where He is leading you, take heart, follow on, and rest in Him.

Prayer: Lord God, give us courage to follow you when the paths of life look rough, are full of obstacles, and uncertainty. Help us to trust that you will lead us out and be the light unto our path. Amen.

amber

Rev. Amber J. Shearer

Camp Wyoba Administrator

Casper Mountain, Wyoming

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