Last night, after it was dark and the dinner dishes had been stored away, the leaders took us on a "faith walk." Faith walks can easily be corny attempts at spirituality; ruined by chatty teenagers or overly cliche leaders. Though I was a bit skeptical about the whole idea, I donned my warm clothes and lined up with the 20 or so other college students.
Beneath the brilliant Santa Cruz stars and mossy branches of the massive trees, we lined up in a long, curving line. Hand placed on each other's shoulders, eyes closed, senses on overdrive. And then, in his musical English accent, Mark began to speak:
"Don't speak. Just open your heart. Listen for the still quiet voice of His word and His peace and His mercy. As you walk, let this be an opportunity for Christ to speak to you, whether it's a time of prayer, of remembering verses, or simply letting your mind empty. In this time of darkness and quiet, as you're forced to wholly trust in the leaders and your fellow students, let His love and presence envelop you..."
The trail was rocky and uneven. It was full of holes, branches and invisible snares waiting to trip us...and as we stumbled blindly ahead, guided only by the leaders' whispered directions, I felt myself resisting. I wanted to open my eyes. My feet strained to maintain balance and steadiness. I felt so vulnerable heading down this path; I didn't know where it lead, I didn't know what lay in my path, I could only hope the leaders were guiding us accurately, I had to put my complete trust in the person before me...total helplessness.
And as I stumbled (literally) blindly along, I was shocked at the powerful message this excercise held for me. I suddenly realized what it meant to "step out in faith". To trust unconditionally. So many times, we head down difficult paths in life and rather than clinging to Christ and surrendering to His guidance, we open our eyes and rely on ourselves for safety and security. Yet, what a powerful reminder that we cannot rely on ourselves, we can't try to figure our lives out...we can't navigate life alone. As I stumbled down that rocky, narrow path in the darkness, words and scripture flooded my mind. "Thy Word is a light unto my feet." "Trust in the Lord with all your hearts and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your path straight."
During a time of personal uncertainty and doubt and worry, this was an incredible testimony and a bit of a reality check for me. I don't exactly know how I'll manage this next semester in terms of finances, amount of school, workload, car issues, life at home, and everything. It's rather overwhelming sometimes and I don't know what I'm going to do yet. Stepping out in faith is a day to day struggle, a constant quieting of my heart. Yet, in moments of darkness and silence, just as during the faith walk, I can hear His voice..."Just let go. Trust me."
Just let go.
"...who through faith conqured kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; who's weakness was turned to strength, and who became powerful in battle...