I never know with absolute certainty if I am going the right way and so I am always second guessing myself. If I am paying attention to the signs around me, a croak of a tree frog or the trickle of a spring, I move forward in peace, even when the trail is treacherous. If I am distracted by the noise of my own thoughts or the glitz of this world, I miss these signs. I know I'm going the wrong way because each step is painful and forced. I inevitably trip over moss covered tree stumps and get tangled and scratched by the bushes.
In these off the path experiences, I become keenly aware of the dangers around me. I do not feel safe. At the same time, I try to analyze how I ended up off the path to avoid doing it again. I lecture myself to be more attentive to the small signs that God gives me to keep me moving in the right direction. Eventually, I end up back on the trail that Jesus is leading me on.
Every once in while, I come to a clearing. I can see and feel the sun on my face. The birds chirp loudly and joy and peace fill my heart. Everything seems so real and so good and I feel confident in God's love and care for me. It is in the clearing that I get a glimpse of how I am made in God's image and likeness and how wonderful that is. It is in the clearing that I feel the most love for all that God has made. I know that these times are a gift that God gives me and I relish the moment because that is all it is, a moment. Soon I will crawl back into the underbrush. I am compelled to continue on because of the hope I have to get a glimpse of the Savior just ahead of me. Softly and tenderly he calls me onward.