“The journey gets steep. So steep that some of us give up. Some stop climbing. Some just sit down…They have simply stopped walking. They do not change. Prayers will not deepen. Devotion will not increase. Passion will not rise.”
In 1775 Daniel Boone followed an ancient bison path and cut a trail through the Cumberland Gap. This notch in the Appalachian Mountains cut through where the states of Kentucky, Virginia and Tennessee met, and opened into the American West. Known as the Wilderness Road, it served as a pathway to undiscovered territories. In thirty-five years over 300,000 adventurist people, packed all their belongings on a wagon and traveled this treacherous trail. The “roadsides” often reflected the difficulties of the journey. Broken wagon wheels, chest of precious possessions abandoned to lighten the load and crudely marked gravesites. The Wilderness Road was a place of great struggle and extreme loneliness that tested the determination of each traveler. Some stopped and turned around to return to a familiar life. Some just left the road and became a settler and never continued.
As the Children of God, we too find the path God leads us both demanding and overpowering. Our enemy whispers in our ear, “Turn back.” “It’s not worth it.” “You can serve God in a different way.” “You have already come so far, just stop here for a while.” Your wheel has been broken and the path is steep. It is easy to become a settler rather than a pilgrim.
As you sit with impossible odds ahead, I want to place a few signposts to encourage your Wilderness Road.
1) God places us in a wilderness, so we stop depending on ourselves. It is here in our helplessness and hopelessness we realize only God can provide. We need him for every step of the way.
2) The wilderness is not a place to test what we are made of, but to show us what God is made of. It is here we learn his faithfulness and our relationship grows, as he reveals to us his character.
3) Standing alone in the wilderness we find His presence is the greatest treasure of our journey. It isn’t the destination but walking with our Father. His hand reaches out to pick us up when we stumble. His words lighten our load and give us the courage to continue. It’s how our Father says our name during the long nights, that wraps us in His love. He is the treasure of our wilderness trek. Dear pilgrim friend lift your eyes off the ruts in the road and look to the One that makes the journey all worthwhile.