A Map for the Journey

Nancy Hatcher, Volunteer Writer, South Barrington | October 18, 2023

The law of the Lord is perfect,
    refreshing the soul.
The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy,
    making wise the simple.
 The precepts of the Lord are right,
    giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the Lord are radiant,
    giving light to the eyes. 
Psalm 19:7-8

I’m a nature girl at heart, and recently, this Illinois flat-lander headed to the Rocky Mountains. We borrowed a four-wheeler and bumped up the mountain seven miles to our hike. The drop from the road frightened me more than the boulders in our path. I had to trust my driver and occupy my mind with prayer and singing, “This is my Father’s world; I rest me in the thought, of rocks and trees, of skies and seas, his hand the wonders wrought.”

My phone suddenly showed no bars—there was no internet or way of getting help if needed. 

When had it ever taken over an hour to go this short of a distance? I feared we were lost, my feet craved stable terrain, and an outhouse. Of course, we didn’t have a map, and I randomly worried if we would have enough water. I was reluctant to leave the vehicle when the road finally ended. 

Nothing was marked, only a pile of rocks stacked on a boulder. At least there was a rock cairn, I thought—hikers who had been there before us created a rock statue, telling us where to go. I was overjoyed with this kindness, but I have since learned that these are not allowed in every National Forest or Park because sometimes they are inaccurate. 

In today’s scripture, David knows what we need for our bumpy life journeys—God’s law. He moves on through this passage, telling us that it’s perfect, trustworthy, right, and radiant. God’s road map isn’t always easy because many of us tend to avoid the guidelines God has set up for us to follow. 

King David, who lived most of his life outdoors, wrote this Psalm. He gave God the glory for creating our beautiful world but also recognized that we shouldn’t worship creation but instead, our Creator, God, who gives rules to follow—all for our good.

If we hold God’s law in our hearts and obey it, it won’t keep the problems of this world away; however, it definitely can keep us from slipping and grieving God’s heart. God’s way is often not easy, but it is best.

By the way, our hike that day was so worth the effort. We experienced lots of God’s goodness—rocks, trees, sparkling water, majestic mountains, a slice of heaven on Earth. What a gift—what a God!

Next Steps   

  • Take a walk in nature, sit on a crowded subway, or look into a child’s eyes… marvel and thank God for his creation.
  • What does nature reveal about God?
  • Read the Ten Commandments; what does it reveal about God’s character?