Faith on the trail of life

Earlier this year with my personal life in turmoil, I traveled to Sedona, Arizona, a place of wilderness and amazing beauty, to pray, to reflect and to seek God’s guidance.  As I reread God’s assurances that He will never leave us nor forsake us, I asked God for His reassurance not only through words but through experience.  On one memorable day I had two experiences of God’s promise.

The most significant experience, thought I didn’t recognise it as a sign from God until later in the day after the second sign, was on a six mile hike through a beautiful canyon.  Now the hiking guide book that I was using states that it would be very rare to encounter any snakes while hiking, as snakes are afraid of humans and are long gone before we get near to them.  Nonetheless about two miles from my car, as I turned the corner on a very narrow trail, I heard a very loud sound.  I stopped dead in my tracks and looked down at a coiled 4 foot rattlesnake with its rattle vibrating loudly.  Now rattlesnakes are extremely venomous and the advice if bitten is to get to a hospital within 30 minutes.  Considering that I was an hour from my car with no cellphone coverage, I think it would have been a bit more than 30 minutes for me.  I quickly took two steps back and spent the next twenty minutes observing and waiting for this snake to leave the trail so I could get by safely. The second experience was later in the evening.  As I left the cinema after a movie, I took my car keys out of my pocket.  A minute later as I approached my car, I heard a voice behind me say “Excuse me sir”.  I turned expecting to see someone asking me for money or offering to sell me something.  Instead it was a teenage boy holding something out to me.  “You dropped this in front of the cinema”, he said.  “Thank you very much” I said as I gratefully took my apartment key from him.  He had picked up my key and followed me to my car to return it.

It was only later in prayer before going to bed that I realised the spiritual significance of what had happened to me that day.  Maybe some would see these events as interesting but meaningless.  To me this was God saying loudly to me that whatever trail I’m on, He is walking beside me and will protect me and provide for me.  I’ve often read this in His word but now, after asking, I’ve experienced it by His grace.