Keeping your eyes on the Lord doesn’t mean you are going to have an easy walk.
Written by Ray Fairman   
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I guess that is why God had James write his epistle and included it in the Bible.

Back in my youthful years, I did a lot of hiking, fishing and camping (No not just in the Marines, although I did a lot then as well). No, I mean for recreation. I hiked primarily in the western deserts and mountains of California and Nevada and Arizona, especially the magnificent “High Sierra’s”.

That stretch of mountains is a gorgeous masterpiece of God’s handiwork. And, I might add, a great example of the road of life that I was to follow as my life developed.

As I hiked through those mountains and forests, with their lakes and streams I tried to follow the winding switchbacks and narrow path that traversed the route I planned from wherever I started to my destination.

Often, like the time I traveled from “Pickle Meadows to Whitney Portals, about 70 miles, my destination was not visible during the majority of my trip. I only caught site of it on occasion. And when that Majestic snowcapped Mt. Whitney popped up on the horizon periodically, my heart rejoiced with what my mind was thinking, “I lift up mine eyes unto the Mountains.” “From whence cometh my strength?” “My strength cometh from The Lord,” and believe me there were many times during that hike when I needed His strength. There was the crossing of Forrester Pass, one of the highest passes in the Sierras, and flooded streams to ford, and steep climbs every day. At times I fell into my bedroll exhausted without even eating my evening meal.

I eventually found out, as I lived my life and matured as a man and a Christian, that God had used my youth to train me and give me experiences with adversity and difficult times in order to teach me to depend on Him and not on myself and my limited view of the world. I learned that even though I could at times see my goal, which was the summit of Mt Whitney, I could not always see it, nor could I see what was in the valleys between where I was and that glorious destination. That was, not until I reached those valleys and encountered the obstacles they sheltered and overcame them. I also realized it meant that if I was to reach that destination, I could never quit. I had to find the strength to take that next step, and then the next, and then the next and so on and so forth.

Life is also like that, we will really never know what the next valley holds until we top the ridge in front of that valley. But, if we keep our focus on Christ instead of trying to figure out just how we will defeat the next unknown obstacle that next valley holds, we can rest assured He will already have a plan for us, one that will benefit us and not harm us. He will also provide us with His strength, mercy and grace every step of our life long journey.

I have traveled many trails to many destinations thus far in life. My 42.5 year Marine Corps Trail that took me all over the world and showed me just how blessed we here in America truly are; and eventually led to my becoming an Officer. My Family Trail of 50 years to becoming a Husband and Father (and now Grandfather – Pop-Pop). My Law enforcement Trail of 47 years that took me all over the country still in service to mankind. And my Christian Trail of almost 60 years that has resulted in my serving the last 17 years as one of God’s chaplains caring directly for His small warrior band of Centurions & Sheepdogs, to whom He left the responsibility of guarding His flocks.

The one thing that has stuck with me ever since those trips through the sierras was… God himself. Whenever I got lost, He found me. Whenever I lost strength, He rejuvenated me. Whenever I got discouraged, He gave me encouragement. Whenever I strayed from the paths of righteousness, He re-boxed my moral compass. Whenever I felt disrespected and despised, He reminded me that they first despised, rejected and even hated Him first.

Today my destination is still the same as it was when I started out on that first trip of several up into the Sierra Nevada Mountains from Bullfrog Lakes. HEAVEN is my destination and service to God and all mankind is the trail I have chosen to follow th get there and Jesus Christ is my guide and navigator. And that is so important because anybody can steer a ship, but only the navigator can chart the course.

Who is your Navigator?

 





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