A few years ago, at a church where I was part of the pastoral team, I took weekly prayer walks around the perimeter of the church property. Every Wednesday over the lunch hour I walked and prayed. Through rain, fog, sunshine, heat, cold, and snow, I marched seven times (~4 miles) around the church property praying for the congregation and its leaders. Occasionally a person would join me for a couple rounds. Eventually, I had a path worn in the grass.
One cold winter day as I began my walk, I discovered that part of the worn path had been bulldozed due to some clean-up efforts along the fence row! I stared at the muddy mess and thought, "Where do I go? My path is gone! How do I get past this chaos?" Then I looked up the hill just beyond and to the right of the bulldozer, and saw the wooden boundary stake which I always walked past. So, I kept my eyes fixed on that stake and trudged prayerfully through the mud, and then on the other side of the mess, my well-worn path appeared again.
As I continued walking, Hebrews 12:1-3 popped in my head:
“We have all these great people around us as examples. Their lives tell us what faith means. So we, too, should run the race that is before us and never quit. We should remove from our lives anything that would slow us down and the sin that so often makes us fall. We must never stop looking to Jesus. He is the leader of our faith, and he is the one who makes our faith complete. He suffered death on a cross. But he accepted the shame of the cross as if it were nothing because of the joy he could see waiting for him. And now he is sitting at the right side of God’s throne.” ERV
Sometimes life hands us chaos and we feel lost and hopeless. Without warning, our way forward appears to be horribly torn apart and we are stunned at the obstacles in our path. What will we do?! But then the Holy Spirit, our Advocate, reminds us of his presence and he gives us strength to press on, one prayerfully muddy step at a time, with our eyes fixed on Jesus. God is with us and there is hope in, through, and beyond the chaos.
“Don’t worry—I am with you. Don’t be afraid—I am your God. I will make you strong and help you. I will support you with my right hand that brings victory…
I am the Lord your God, who holds your right hand. And I tell you, ‘Don’t be afraid! I will help you.’” Isaiah 41:10, 13 ERV
I’m praying for you.