Just around the bend

Of Course God does not consider you hopeless. If He did, He would not be moving you to seek Him (and He obviously is)… Continue seeking Him with seriousness. Unless He wanted you, you would not be wanting Him.”
C.S. Lewis

“If I cease searching, then, woe is me, I am lost. That is how I look at it – keep going, keep going come what may.”
― Vincent van Gogh

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(Tremont, TN , The Great Smokey Mountains National Park / Julie Cook / 2015)

Along many a journey taken throughout our lives, there often comes a point when every journeyman realizes that oddly there are no particular clear-cut signs, no helpful mile markers, no familiar landmarks pointing him or her in the proper direction.

The only thing for certain being…there is a path with the choice of either continuing forward or the option of simply turning around, heading back to whence one originally came.

How often does the journeyman continue onward, feeling as if he or she is blinded by the loss of direction, merely feeling one’s way along in the dark as it were, thinking that after every curve, after every bend along the path, surely clarity shall be glimpsed as finally there has to be something familiar or something offered as some sort of informational directional compass… that the chosen path is indeed the right and correct path for this particular journey.

Such are the times in which we find ourselves living.

The journey is often arduous, steep and seemingly treacherous.
And yet there are days when the journey seems endlessly boring and benign.
We often tire, growing weary and overwhelmed both physically, mentally and emotionally.
It is as if we are wandering lost within the massive forest, with no end in sight or welcoming safe haven as there are those who are not seen… those who wait hidden in the shadows who wish us harm as we journey onward.

As all who journey must realize and accept that there have never been any guarantees to any journey ever taken…as every journey and every path is left to chance and the whims of those forces which prevail against us.

How is one ever to prepare for such an odyssey when even the very path, the journey, the pilgrimage, the sojourn is not clearly marked, definitively set or offers any sort of guidance or clear directional choice to the one setting out on the trek? What of the perils, the dangers, the evil which lies in wait with its unseen snares and traps, hoping to catch the innocent trekker ill prepared and off guard?

Is there hope?
Is there help?
Is there assistance?

Ah…there is but One…
One alone who is fully prepared and ready.
One alone who knows the way.
And it is to Him we all must turn as He is the One who will offer comfort, direction, defense and solace for the often long, lonely and frightening journey…

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
Romans 15:13

the journeyman

“You can’t cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water.”
Rabindranath Tagore

A journey is a person in itself; no two are alike. And all plans, safeguards, policing, and coercion are fruitless. We find that after years of struggle that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us.
John Steinbeck

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(looking out at a stormy day / Henderson State Park / Julie Cook / 2015)

No journey is completely joy filled
No trip is 100% carefree
No life lived fully is exempt from sorrow, alienation, frustration, tears, or storms

To stand alone, staring out across a swelling sea and ever darkening sky is not
for the faint of heart, let alone a comfort to the one who is prepared to journey forth into the very storm.

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(lighting over the ocean / Henderson St Park / Julie Cook / 2015)

Knowing that one must set sail, despite an awaiting perilous maelstrom,
takes perseverance and courage but above all, conviction.
It must be taken without question or trepidation. . .
Because for the journeyman the choice is clear.

Choices of Truth, those which act as the pole star to one’s internal journey, in turn become the navigational sextant for the outward journey.

It is obvious from the growing fury that the trip will not be easy.
At times it will be both dangerous as well as treacherous.
There will be betrayal, misjudgment and even failure.
However the course has been charted, and the dials are set, there is now, no return.

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(waves in the surf / Henderson St Park / Julie Cook / 2015)

The journeymen must press on.
Ever forward.
The variables have been offered.
It is a yes or no decision as there is no in-between.
To go, despite what lay ahead. . .the alternative is simply to stay.
The offer has been presented, the outcome is guaranteed and yet it is the journey that remains in question

To go will not be easy. . .
There may be tragedy, possible harm or certain death
Yet to remain will offer only a slight reprieve of indecisiveness
The waffeling of a life without commitment.
There is no leveling of the playing field.
The wise know the answer before the question is even asked.

The ship is turned, the bow points toward the storm
The throttle is pushed forward as the journey now begins. . .

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(a lone fishing boat sets out toward the coming storm / Henderson St Park / Julie Cook / 2015)

“In my distress I called to the Lord,
and he answered me.
From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help,
and you listened to my cry.
You hurled me into the depths,
into the very heart of the seas,
and the currents swirled about me;
all your waves and breakers
swept over me.
I said, ‘I have been banished
from your sight;
yet I will look again
toward your holy temple.’
The engulfing waters threatened me,
the deep surrounded me;
seaweed was wrapped around my head.
To the roots of the mountains I sank down;
the earth beneath barred me in forever.
But you, Lord my God,
brought my life up from the pit.
“When my life was ebbing away,
I remembered you, Lord,
and my prayer rose to you,
to your holy temple.
“Those who cling to worthless idols
turn away from God’s love for them.
But I, with shouts of grateful praise,
will sacrifice to you.
What I have vowed I will make good.
I will say, ‘Salvation comes from the Lord.”

Jonah 2:2-9