He led them forth by the right way. -Psalm 107:7
I followed her silently through the tall grasses of the savanna hills. The beads around her neck reflected the bright African sun as I squinted to see the path ahead. We had been in the bush for two days, and today we were headed to a remote village for a week-long homestay. Our leader was Wawe, the matriarch of the family, an elderly grandmother wizened by years of holding babies on her lap and cultivating fields of maize.
I wanted to know how much longer we must march. I did not know enough language to ask.
I wondered if we would eat when we arrived. I was hungry and tired. Would there be clean water, or would we need to stretch the supply we carried in our backpacks? What about a bathroom? Our hosts lived in mud huts.
I could ask none of these questions because I did know the words to communicate with my hostess.
Our trek continued for what seemed like hours, narrated only by the rustling grasses and the gentle chirring of insects along the dried-up river bed nearby. Wawe walked with purpose, her jaw set firmly and her eyes straight ahead. She had walked this path thousands of times. She knew the right way, even if we did not.
It was near-maddening not to know where I was or how much longer the journey would be. I fretted over whether I would be comfortable, would have my needs met when I arrived. I chafed under the fact that I was forced to depend upon the provision and hospitality of a tribe I had only just been introduced to days before.
I had no choice but to trust Wawe and keep her faded red wrap in my sight. Oh God, don’t let me lose sight of her please.
I have often reflected on that march into the unknown at times in my life when God seemed to be leading me through the grasslands of unfamiliarity, the silent terrain of trust without explanation, the unpredictable landscape of faith beyond my ability to understand my circumstances and exactly where I was and why.
During such sojourns we face the same decision I did so long ago on that African plain. Trust and follow.
As we follow Christ, we have much more than I had that hot, humid day. We have the promises, great and mighty, of a God who never changes. Like a map they guarantee His promise to lead us in a right way. We may not recognize the surroundings. But we recognize the brightness of His silhouette just ahead, leading ever onward. We keep Him in our sights as we go to His Word, the Bible, and as we seek wise counsel from safe people who love us and speak truth to us even when we are confused. We hear His footfalls in the voice of His people, those who have walked this path themselves and know that indeed, the promise is true in the end. He leads us in a right way.
Are you marching, marching today through unfamiliar terrain? Are you unsure of what awaits you just ahead? Fix your eyes on His image and follow on. He will lead you in a right way. You can be sure of it.