“In you, Lord, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame; deliver me in your righteousness. Turn your ear to me, come quickly to my rescue; be my rock of refuge, a strong fortress to save me. Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me.” (Psalms 31:1-3 NIV)
COVID-19 was everywhere. Many had died, and there was no “safe haven” so to speak. Many were confined to their homes. People were becoming more and more sedentary, concerns for mental health and drug overdoses abounded, and of course, many were suffering from the loss of their businesses.
My family was not immune to any of this. God gave us a gift, however, right in the midst of the worst season for COVID-19 in our region: He gave us a trail to walk on.
Oh, we weren’t the only ones He gave the trail to. There were others who enjoyed it as well; but the trail was wide enough to allow adequate social distancing, and everyone was polite and careful. It was really nice to be able to say “hello” to people and to see their friendly smiles. It was also really nice to be able to get some exercise and to get out of our four walls!
There was something else very special about this trail. It was constructed over an old railway bed that had once traversed our region, stretching 6.5 kilometers one way before ending in a beautiful park. What was, for us anyway, the most special was that most of the trail ran right through tunnels of beautiful, towering maples, oaks and elms. We enjoyed those trees through the summer, fall and even into the early part of winter, and we enjoyed it again in the Spring. It was special to be underneath that tree tunnel, protected from the heat of the summer sun. It was equally as thrilling to watch the green turns to reds, yellows, oranges and browns throughout the long and beautiful fall, finally ending with us traipsing through 10-20 cm of fallen leaves. And then those leaves became mulch, thanks to the effect of hundreds of feet, and the tunnel “walls” became of towering limbs and branches, beautiful in their own right. It was even pretty with the first carpets of snow before the trail became impassable, and of course, everyday was different in the Spring as the leaves came out and the flowers bloomed.
We couldn’t help thinking about how wonderfully created the trees were. They had to lose their leaves in order to withstand the cold of our climate, so God did so in a beautiful way. And then He used the fallen leaves to mulch the earth before covering the barren path with a layer of white snow…
We couldn’t help but thank God through those long months of COVID-19 for showing us this trail, and especially, for showing us His beauty, even amidst the horrors of a world pandemic.
The Psalmist tells us: “In you, Lord, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame; deliver me in your righteousness. Turn your ear to me, come quickly to my rescue; be my rock of refuge, a strong fortress to save me. Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me.” (Psalms 31:1-3 NIV). This text really had meaning for us. God knew we needed to get out of our house to a safe place, not only for exercise, but to experience Him through nature even more fully, and God provided this. God is so good!
No matter where you are or what your housing circumstances are, ask God to take you to a special place where you can experience Him. Maybe it will be your prayer closet. Maybe it will be a park bench at the corner of a small park. And maybe it will be a tree-lined path. Whatever or wherever it is, God is there, reaching out to us and wanting to reveal Himself to us! He will truly deliver us with His righteousness. He will rescue us, He will be our strong Fortress, our Rock!
In His love,
(To access the entire “The Sling for God” devotional series, please click here.)