For those on the Black Diamond Trail

Maybe you’re reading this this morning and “It’s summertime and the livin’ is easy.  Fish are jumping, and the cotton is high.  Your daddy’s rich and your mamma’s good looking.”

You’ve signed a book deal or had a baby, got engaged or or got accepted into the college of your choice.  If that’s you, we want to rejoice with you and praise God, even if it feels like a “sacrifice of praise.”

But this post isn’t so much for you. You can stop reading.

This is for the person who’s reading and it’s a bleak winter day and it feels like you’re alone on a barren icy uphill climb that is really, really hard.  And most of all, you can’t see the end of the trail.

As I write this I’m in Florida (I know, I know, ironic.  Don’t hate me), and this morning I biked to “my” Starbucks down here where I go every day, hoping to see a barista I’ve befriended over the years.  She is a remarkable young (maybe 25 year old?) woman who loves Jesus and has been very sick for most of her life.  She received one lung transplant, but it didn’t take and she is now waiting for another.

She’s on a double black diamond trail.  I’m sure she is cold and exhausted at this point. She’s been too ill to work lately, but whenever I see her I marvel at her indomitable joy and faith.

I was praying for her, and so many others on grueling paths this morning when I came across an amazing verse I’ve never noticed before.  Actually, I must have noticed it before cuz there was a note next to it, but I forgot.  Which is typical.

Anyway, in Psalm 77 the writer starts out with a  brutally honest rant (he’s a Simon Cowell pray-er of sorts), which is pretty reassuring cuz God doesn’t smite him, but lets him get it out of his system.

Then the guy takes another tack. To say not “I feel“, but “I will” remember and meditate on God’s mighty deeds.  He makes a choice to look back and recount where he’s seen God’s presence and power.

But then comes the verse that struck me powerfully in a fresh way.  Verse 19 says,

“Your path led through the sea, your way through the mighty waters, though your footprints were not seen.”

Kind of like “Wow. You were with me before, even when I couldn’t see it.  Even in the crappiest times.  Maybe, just maybe, You’re still leading.  Still with me.”

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That may seem small, but I truly think one of the things God says to us that is most comforting is “Even in thisI am with you.  You are not alone.”

Praying that God brings a little of the warmth of His presence to wintery paths today.

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