I will have limited access to my email while I am on vacation from May 25 – May 30. Therefore, the next verse and message will be sent at the end of next week or the beginning of the following week.
Have a spectacular Memorial Day Weekend everyone!
Isaiah 30:21 (NIV)
Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”
This past Saturday, I had the pleasure of participating in the 2nd Annual Cahaba River Ramble. This year was different, because Shane Hulsey could not be with his wife, Alison, to direct the event. Although his life was taken from us last year due to a tragic accident, Shane Hulsey’s spirit was definitely present on Saturday to mark his legacy. Shane is remembered for his faithful commitment to the environment and the Cahaba River Society. This year the race proceeds supported The Shane Hulsey CLEAN Field Environmental Education Program of the Cahaba River Society.
The Cahaba River Ramble offers two race route options. Runners select to
participate in the 5K trail race or the 10 mile trail race. After the start of the race, I realized that I was the female leader in the 10 mile race.
The route was marked with orange ribbons displayed periodically on the course, and long orange tape marked the boundaries to keep runners on track. I was not familiar with the course, so I had to pay attention to these markers. At the completion of mile four, there was a point known as the “lollipop”….what appeared to be a fork in the trail. The orange tape had fallen, but was clearly marked on one trail straight across, so I stayed right since the boundary was marked to direct runners away from the other trail.
I exchanged pleasantries with the gentleman running with me (Tom Riser) who also veered right with me. So onward we ran. A few minutes later, things begin to seem a little too quiet. There were not any orange ribbons marking the course, and no sign of a volunteer or liquid refreshment were in sight. Making our way about two miles along this path, Tom and I starting analyzing our options and second-guessing our decision to run on this path. Our insecurities increased as we continued on ahead. Being of the same sentiment, we were too hard-headed to turn around just yet; we thought we could continue down the fairly obvious wrong path in hopes that a short-cut to the correct path or some form of life would appear (at this point, hoping that the desired life to appear wouldn’t be some hungry mountain lion or other wild animal). In addition, I was grateful that I was running with a person who clearly wasn’t a serial killer either, although we joked about it.
Finally, with frustration and dry mouth, we turned around to head back to where we came from since it was clear this trail wasn’t heading in the direction to the finish line. With 1st place out of sight, and for that matter volunteers out of sight, it was a relief to know that at least we knew how to find our way home or at least to the lollipop intersection that deceived us. Once we turned around, we were almost deceived again — a slew of approximately 25 runners were heading our way…..half-way confident, I communicated that they also were heading down the wrong path. Now, we had others following us back to the place of the intersection of critical decision, so if indeed we were incorrect in our choice, we would have a lot of angry folks to add to the dilemma as well. The rest of the story is that we made it back to the mile-four lollipop and headed down the correct path. After running in the woods for 2 hours and 25 minutes, I made it home. The 10 mile trail race, turned into a 16 mile journey. I finally made it to the finish line…whew…what a relief! No cares in the world about a missed award…I was home…that was my reward….and just running for this beautiful cause in memory of Shane Hulsey.
The reason for my story is that God spoke to me in the midst of the journey. He reminded me that no matter how far and how long we travel down the wrong road, it’s never too late to return home to our Lord. Our Lord is waiting with open arms and refreshment for us, and He yearns for our return. We may be deceived by the Enemy or we may make wrong choices out of our stubborn free will….but His Grace will always take us back! I didn’t have a difficult time making the decision to run down the wrong path, because I was too consumed to consider that a four wheeler had driven through the marker and the marker had blown to the other course…..the course had deceived me. No matter how strong or smart we think we may be in this life….the Enemy is there to pounce… to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). That’s why it is crucial that we stay focused on our Savior and do everything we can to protect ourselves from the Enemy’s deception. To be safe from the darts of deception, we have to know our Enemy, and we have to be confident with our course. If I had known the race course, I would have realized that something had occurred to cause the confusion of the markers at mile four. If I know the Enemy, I will be aware that he will attack when I am am vulnerable, consumed, or oblivious to his tactics. I need to be alert to any confusion that he tries to throw in the mix. I won’t always know which direction to turn, but I have a Partner who will provide the answer if I will listen.
The beauty of taking the wrong path is that there is always a way home….
It just takes longer to get home, you will be worn out and weary, and you may not have the blessing or reward that belong to you if you had listened to the Shepherd’s call in the first place. So why delay God’s best plan? We must know our Enemy and be braced with the Armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18).
To conclude I wanted to share a point expressed in When the Enemy Strikes by Charles Stanley:
“The Devil attempts to deceive us by convincing us that right is wrong and wrong is right. To be deceived is to believe a lie. The Devil has absolutely no capacity to tell the truth about anything.”
DON’T BE DECEIVED….STAY ON TRACK WITH THE MASTER!
LET CHRIST BE YOUR COMPASS….
HIS DIRECTION IS THE BEST MAP TO FOLLOW!
HE’S YOUR LEADER…..HE WILL GUIDE YOU TO THE FINISH LINE!!