Not The First

Yesterday I decided to take a road trip to Turkey Run over in Indiana to do some hiking.  It’s been over a year since I’d been there, and I wanted to spend some time relaxing and reflecting out in the indescribable beauty of God’s creation, hiking through forests, sandstone valleys, past waterfalls, and overlooking steep cliffs.  I am best able to clear my mind out in nature, away from the rush of the world around me, the expectations of cell phones and emails, the pressures of life.

As I was hiking along one part of the trail (#7 for those familiar with the place,) I came across a spot that in recent times had apparently been very muddy.  Although at the time there was no one around me, I saw beneath my own shoes the footprints of many people who had walked that path before imprinted in the now dry ground.

Immediately my mind snapped back to a passage from Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians: “The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience.” (1 Cor 10:13a)  Just as it seemed like I was the only one that was dealing with the terrain that was trail #7, by simply looking at the ground beneath my feet I was able to see that, while currently I was the only one in that place, many others had walked the same path before me.
It’s the same way in our lives.  Sometimes it seems like we’re the only one facing some daunting problem, and we feel isolated.  However, that’s far from the truth.  It’s amazing how many times I’ve opened up to someone else about something going on in my life, and they’ve been like “Hey, I’ve been there” or “I’m dealing with that right now.”  Or someone else has told me something they’re dealing with, and I’ve been able to respond in the same way to them.

The important thing in this is to have a trusted group of Christian friends that we can talk to about the junk of life, and to be willing to talk to others about what we’re going through and have gone though.  That way, when the enemy tries to drag us down by convincing us that we’re the only one dealing with something, we can talk to others and be reassured that we’re not the first, and that we won’t be the last.  It gives us the wonderful opportunity to be able to encourage one another of God’s faithfulness through whatever might be going on in life.