But the way must be long, and as there were thorns and rocks for his feet, so must there be bruises to his spirit.”
“You can never tell what’s in a man till he’s tried.”
Did you really think that your excursion into the wilderness was going to be like a walk in the park? Maybe you thought it was a lark, sort of tip-toe through the tulips. Doesn’t work that way. The enemy of your soul is there ready to destroy you if you are not aware of his devices.
You have been walking smoothly after the ordeal of the canyon. With the respite you are feeling a little refreshed, but then you look ahead and come to a quick halt. There is something there that looks a little like frost, but you know it can’t be. Getting down on your knees you begin to examine and find to your horror that beneath that little thin crust of sun-dried mud is an alkali bog. Another step and disaster would have struck, and the sound of the devil’s laughter would be heard as you sunk deeper and deeper until it was over your head. One more step and the alkali would have filled your eyes, nose, and mouth and strangled you into hopelessness. Another narrow escape. What was it that made you stop? Was it your own senses that have been trained, or perhaps you are finally beginning to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit?
The trail cannot go through the alkali bog; somewhere you must have stepped off the trail and now must retrace your steps. Diligently looking you have finally found the trail and feel almost light-hearted as you begin your travel on it again. Moving quickly, your heart light, and you might even begin to sing. You move over a hill and around a bend and then find yourself facing a gorge. The cliffs loom high and then you check your food supply and find it empty and you realize that you are famished.
In despair you cry out, “Help, help! I’m lost!” Then you hear an answer, but not the one you expect. You hear someone else with the same cry, and then another, and another. There are souls all through the gorge that have strayed off the path and are lost. You crawl to the edge of the cliff and peer over and there are shapes, lifeless shapes of others who did not notice and fell to their death.
When traveling in the wilderness it is not safe for anyone to leave the trail marked by the Master, not even for a moment. How does a person get distracted? How does one stray off the clearly marked trail? Maybe it is that first drink of alcohol, or the first taste of tobacco or drugs. Maybe it is the skepticism of life and a scorn of the warnings. Perhaps it is sacrilege or cursing and profanity or foolish babbling. Oh there could be many reasons that a person gets lost.
Remember, while there is still time you can still call for help. Don’t give up! If you seek help of the Master Guide–the Holy Spirit, He will come and help you. You will still have to take the steps but He will show you the way out. He will also bring the refreshing, cool water and food for the soul. Your spirit will be revived and before long you will find yourself out of the gorge. It is now that He will take you to the “still waters” and allow you to “lie down in the green pastures.”
“Then Jesus was led out into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit to be tempted there by the Devil…. Then the Devil went away, and angels came and cared for Jesus.”
–Matthew 4:1, 11(NLT)