Faith’s most severe tests come not when we see nothing, but when we see a stunning array of evidence that seems to prove our faith vain.
I enjoy hiking trails in the woods, and particularly in the mountains. Sometimes the trail leads steeply upward, so that I cannot see what lies before me. Have I finally reached the peak? Or is this just another plateau? And so I keep climbing, knowing that eventually one of these plateaus will be the top of the mountain.
Other times the trail is more level, and I can see far ahead. The trouble is, all I see are obstacles. Fallen trees, thorny vines, and inhabited spider webs block the path and hinder my progress. Then to add to the misery, it begins to rain. These kinds of trails can get discouraging because they lead me to question whether I’m even going the right way. Obviously no one else has passed this way in a very long time, if ever. Will I get lost if I keep going? And if I get hurt, how long will it be before someone finds me?
This is a physical illustration, but emotionally and spiritually we often face the same dilemmas, times when the obstacles to a certain goal are so daunting that we question whether we are going the right way. But if God has led you this far, you can be sure He will lead you all the way. Faith is trusting God no matter what.
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Elisabeth Elliot’s writing has greatly influenced my life, even as a grown married woman. I truly wish someone had introduced me to her works when I was a teenager, but I am learning that it is never too late to incorporate the principles she teaches: namely, that passion is not sinful and purity is not prudish. Nor are they mutually exclusive. You can have both.