“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’”
The plan had been to continue celebrating our eldest son’s 18th birthday – just him, my husband and me. He’s an avid outdoorsman so we thought it would be fun to hike the Superior Hiking Trail’s Twin Lakes Loop in Silver Bay, Minnesota with him. Afterward we would enjoy a nice dinner in Duluth. There was just one problem with this plan – TIME.
We went to church first, which was good, but our family finds it nearly impossible to leave right after the service. When we did get home to change clothes and settle our other three children in for the day, I wanted to make sure they knew what the rules were and what to make themselves for dinner. Then we had to drive nearly an hour to get to the trail head. So, it was probably too late to begin the seven to eight mile hike when we arrived at the trail after three o’clock in the afternoon on a crisp autumn afternoon; especially for hiking a moderate level trail filled with many ascents and descents over rocks, through mud, and around hidden tree roots. But my husband and our eldest son, who are eternal optimists, were eager to take to the trail, and I am a sucker for both of them and a good hike as well.
I surely did feel like a sucker a few hours later, after I had twisted both of my ankles early on and one of them felt like someone was piercing the top of my foot with a rod every time I stepped on it with all my weight. I didn’t feel so adventurous after hiking two of the first four miles with my ankles throbbing and the pain bringing tears to my eyes. I wasn’t able to chuckle with my guys’ joking. No, I was not enjoying this hike, and I was not looking forward to the nearly four-mile hike back to the van from our position up on the ridge that overlooks Bean and Bear Lakes. I especially did not like the position of the sun on the horizon or the fact that I was a liability to our little group now. I could not walk faster than a hobble. I am normally the pace setter for the hike, but I was holding up my guys, and we were looking at walking the long journey back to our vehicle in the dark. It had been treacherous enough in the daylight as my injuries would atone; I could only imagine what we were going to face walking it in the dark.
My husband looked at a map and pointed to a camp site on the edge of Bean Lake that was barely visible from our spot overlooking it. He suggested we walk to it and then walk back on the ATV trail from there because it would be easier for me to hobble on than the dips and climbs of the hiking trail. We still had to get off that ridge and down to the valley below it, however. It was supposed to be an easy hike from there to the campsite, but, remember, my husband is an optimist and he couldn’t feel the extent of my injuries. That trail was a tough one.
“The Lord is my shepherd” (Psalm 23:1) became my mantra and song for the next mile or more. I forced myself to picture and focus on “dancing” with my feet atop my Abba’s as if I were a little child again, dancing with Him like I did my earthly father when I was little. This helped me to feel lighter, to feel less of the pain running through my feet and ankles. As long as I was focused on Him, I felt I could “soar on wings like eagles” (Isaiah 40:31).
We found the ATV trail, and it was straighter and easier for me to walk upon, but we still had miles to hike until we found the place where the trail crossed. We rejoined the trail as the sun was making its final descent. We stumbled along, sometimes feeling our way through, other times using what familiar shadows we could find as our guide. I reinjured myself every so often. This made things slower and more miserable. Finally, my husband said he would run along before us and get the van. We were to stop when we came to a service road that crossed the trail; he would pick us up there. My son and I stopped at the service road and waited for what felt longer than it probably was. We talked and I would sing “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” At one point I stumbled as if I was pushed, and I shouted for Satan to back off and confessed Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I prayed the Lord would illuminate the path for Chris, and I confessed to God that I was a little worried for him. Then my cell phone lit up, a text came through, Chris made it to the van and was headed up to retrieve us.
Satan surely didn’t want my son and I to sit there and wait any more than he wants me to be still and know that [the LORD] is God; that He will be exalted among the nations, He will be exalted in the earth (Psalm 46:10). Satan would have liked for us to have been struck down in fear as the sun set and the darkness closed in around us or to stumble blindly and be lost in the darkness. He is always there against us. He is always lurking close by to snare us in his traps. I always have to remind myself that he truly has no power over me; in fact, he is quite powerless against the Light of the World in whom I live.
Thank you, LORD, for your answers and guidance. Thank You for being the light of the world; the light of life. You were our sight in the darkness. Your law is perfect, refreshing the soul. Your statutes are trustworthy, making wise the simple. Your precepts are right, giving joy to the heart. Your commands are radiant, giving light to the eyes. Fear of You is pure, enduring forever. Your decrees are firm, and all of them are righteous. You are the great I AM, blessed is your name in all the earth. Amen.