I once got lost in the mountains with a group of high school friends. There were seven of us and we were camping at Wiseman’s View on the edge of the Linville Gorge in North Carolina. We had gone down into the gorge. It’s really not a bad place to be lost, and we weren’t dangerously lost, but we didn’t know that. All we knew was that we didn’t know where we were or how to get back to anyplace that would help us find our way out. We had to battle our way through some dense and thorny underbrush to finally come to a road that led us out.
There are some places on a journey that you would never choose to visit.
This Sunday I will conclude the series on Knowing Where You Are, by talking about the tough places on the journey that have the potential to deepen our faith – if they don’t kill us.
The Bible has several ways to describe these tough paces: the storm, the pit, the desert. We don’t talk about these places much because they are not fun or happy places. Matter-of-fact, we talk about these places so rarely that if you find yourself in one you will most likely feel ashamed, like it’s totally your fault and a sign of failure. By the way, the isolation that results from ignoring and hiding tough places produces its own kind of spiritual wasteland.
Yet, it is in these places that often the most important things happen in our lives. They become the places of Deepening. They forge a faith that is like tempered steel.
If we don’t lose heart.
King David and other writers of the Psalms were honest and desperate about tough places. We’ll look at Psalm 27 to understand what to do when you don’t know what to do.