Walking Unfamiliar Paths


dry falls picture

“I will lead the blind by ways they have not known,

 Along unfamiliar paths I will guide them;

 I will turn darkness into light before them

 And make the rough places smooth.

 These are the things I will do;

 I will not forsake them.”

Isaiah 42:16 NIV

I recently participated in a team building activity in which I had to wear a blindfold and allow a member of my team to guide me through a difficult maze. The goals of the activity were to build trust among team members and to emphasize the importance of good communication in a situation where one member is totally dependent on another for guidance.  At first the ground under my feet was flat and grassy, but as the exercise progressed I had to navigate through a “mine field” of obstacles and rough terrain, where one misstep could have meant disaster.

I remember the feeling of total helplessness when I first placed the blindfold over my eyes.  Even though I was in the middle of an expansive, grassy field, I felt unsure of my surroundings, and my balance was compromised.  I was frozen in my tracks until I heard the voice of my teammate instructing me about which direction to move.  At first I was very tentative with each step I took.  Even though my guide was right next to me, telling me to move forward, I would carefully slide my feet from one spot to the next, ensuring that my footings were sound, still relying on my own senses. 

By the time we advanced into the maze of obstacles, I had become accustomed to the voice of my teammate and felt the bond of trust build between us.  I trusted that he would not allow me to move in the wrong direction, and I realized the importance of carefully listening to his commands telling me exactly where to place each step.  I noticed that my balance was improving, even though the terrain had become more difficult to traverse and the blindfold was still in place.  I could tell that I was no longer in a grassy field, and there was a mix of earth and rocks under my feet, but I felt more confident with each step I took.  My attention focused completely on his commands and not on my own senses.

Upon successfully navigating through the maze, I took my blindfold off and looked back at the course we had just completed.  I couldn’t believe that I had made it through such a difficult set of obstacles without one misstep.  Throughout the exercise, my trust had grown in my teammate, but it grew even more when I was able to visualize what he had just accomplished with me. 

Lately in life, I feel like I’m blindly navigating through difficult and unfamiliar situations.  I have been praying for God’s guidance, but I have also been trying to rely on my own senses to traverse this rough territory.  I feel off-balance and unsure about the path I’m traveling.  I am fearful about the future because of the uncertainty associated with this journey.  When I read Isaiah 42:16, I remembered the lessons I learned from the blindfold activity, and I realized that I needed to completely TRUST my Heavenly Guide and listen for His voice to instruct me along the way.  I especially love the MSG translation of this verse:

“I’ll take the hand of those who don’t know the way, who can’t see where they are going.  I’ll be a personal guide to them, directing them through unknown country.  I’ll be right there to show them what roads to take, make sure they don’t fall into the ditch.  These are the things I will be doing for them – sticking with them, not leaving them for a minute.” 

Isaiah 42:6 MSG

How awesome it is to know that my Heavenly Father is taking me by the hand and leading me through this unknown territory.  He is my personal guide who promises to turn darkness into light before me and make the rough places smooth.  Just like the teambuilding exercise, my confidence will grow as I place my trust in the voice of my Divine Leader.  Even though I am blindly walking through unknown situations in life, by listening to His commands, I will confidently move in the direction of his guidance.  By reading his Word and communicating with Him in prayer, the bond of trust will strengthen between us, and I will be able to discern His voice and instruction.  I will not doubt the direction in which I am heading, and fear and worry will fade.

While He does not promise to remove the difficult situations from our lives, He does promise to be our personal guide through the rough terrain.  If you are traveling a similar path in life, imagine yourself wearing a blindfold and listening to your Heavenly Father’s commands concerning each step you take on this journey.  He will take you by the hand and lead you along this path, and He promises that He will never leave you alone. 

Listen carefully to His voice and follow His commands.  TRUST HIM!

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