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Written by Youth Pastor Caleb Tucker.

My family has always been big on deer hunting, so naturally I try to go every year. I have made the long, cold trek into the woods dozens of times now, but I have only taken a deer from the woods once. However, I assure you those hours do not go down in the timebook of life as wasted. I spend much of my time in the woods talking to God, pondering concepts, or napping (not necessarily in that order).

This particular morning, I was not alone in the woods. My uncle was making the trek with me, or more accurately, I was making it with him. This was an unfamiliar part of the forest to me, so I was following his lead. An hour into the hike we had apparently begun to wander off the trail, which I had no idea was a trail to begin with. We stopped, changed direction, and I then heard my uncle mutter a few short words. Words that I would ponder for the remainder of the day. “I need to look where I’m going instead of where I’m stepping.”

At first glance, this statement does not seem very complex or a statement to be considered for much longer than the 7 seconds my uncle seemed to spend thinking on it while he muttered it. However, I had 10 hours of quiet solitude to consider the implications of this simple statement. Here is what I discovered.

My uncle meant by these words that, since he was focusing too heavily on the ground in front of him, he became less aware of the “trail” and destination that lay ahead of him. This led to requiring a change of direction. This statement applies to hiking in the woods, but I also believe it applies to our lives as well. Many times in my own life I have been so focused on my current situation that I forget or lose track of my real objectives. In the same way, I have found myself getting lost in visions of the future and wind up tripping myself up before I can get there. Both things are of great importance, the destination and the steps you take to get there, but we must not focus too heavily on either one.

Considering this story, I am reminded of Psalm 119:105, “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path”. We are reminded by the psalmist that if we keep our focus on God’s word, just as I focused on the sunrise that cold November morning, it will illuminate our journey. Each step in the light will become more confident. Each glance up at the horizon will hold more promise for the future.

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