For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord. “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
My friend Ron had been laid off from his job. He was his young family’s sole support. He loved and trusted the Lord, but he felt little sense of guidance about his future. Trying to collect his thoughts, he decided to make a day hike by himself.
An experienced hiker, he went up the mountain trial of a lone peak in Southern California in December. It was a grey winter day, and the mountain peak was wrapped in clouds. As he climbed the trail he hit heavy fog and had to carefully watch his steps. He knew the farthest place he could go on the trail, when he had to turn back in order to make it home by nightfall.
All through that long hike he could not see the mountain or the vista he knew lay below him. There was only the fog and trail in front of him and a thin line of dripping shrouded pines on both sides of him. There was no clear sense of direction or future – exactly the way he felt about his life.
As he went on, he neared the point on the trial where he would have to turn around. He was tempted to go on, but he had promised his wife he would be off the trail by sunset, and he had just enough time left to make the return trip by then. Still, there was only the floating fog and the gray path in front of him.
Then, just as he was on the point of turning around and trudging home, the sun broke through. The fog lifted, the clouds brightened and there, directly in front of him, reared the great mass of the snow-capped peak, and the sunlight kindled the white of the snow into golden fire. Below the trail was the valley, green and brown and beautiful.
Ron stayed soaking up the sight for just a few minutes before the clouds lowered and the fog rolled in again. But that was all he needed. Certain now that God was directing his way no matter what his circumstances, his steps were light as he turned around and made his way back home.