A Leaf Covered Trail: A Lesson on Walking by Faith

“The steps of a man are ordered by the Lord who takes delight in his journey” -Psalm 37:23

My Lab is a trail dog, meaning that when we’re out hiking, the trail laid out before her is the path she travels.  The visibility of these hiking trails varies with terrain and seasons.  Trails through the woods from spring to fall are more visible, and Adi follows them by sight.  Trails over rocky terrain or that are covered by fall’s leaves are harder to decipher.  In these cases, Adi is at an advantage.  She employs her nose to ensure she stays the course.  On more than one occasion Adi’s nose has kept us on course. 

One day as I followed Adi up a trail through the woods, I found myself praying, “Order my steps, Lord.” At that moment, the trail we followed was clearly visible.  Yet in a month, I knew it would be almost imperceptible under a blanket of leaves. 

I found myself likening the trail before me to the path of life.  The path I have chosen to travel through this life is the one laid before me by Jesus Christ.  There are seasons when the trail ahead is quite visible.  Then there are seasons when the events of life make the trail ahead more ambiguous like the season I am in right now. 

A year ago, if you had asked me to describe the trail ahead I would have said, “Well, it’s a continuation of using my experiences as an educator to homeschool our children, sharing Lessons from a Lab with fellow dog lovers, teaching inquisitive three year-olds in Sunday School, and visiting dear, wise seniors through my church’s homebound ministries.” Today, If you asked me that same question, I would say, “I honestly don’t know.”  A worldwide pandemic has blanketed the trail ahead with leaves of uncertainties caused by lockdowns, social distancing, group limitations . . .

How do I take the next steps forward if I no longer see the trail with clarity?  I’m not like my Labrador who can turn to her sense of smell to show her the way.  Rather I have something better- my faith and the Bible.  You see, the Lord has promised to order my steps and illuminate the ground before me as I read His Word and seek Him in prayer.  And so, one steady step of faith at a time I will walk forward with Jesus through this season.

“Order my steps in thy Word . . .”

Psalms 119:133

“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.”

-Psalm 119:105

“For we walk by faith and not by sight.”

2 Corinthians 5:7

© 2019-2023, Lessons from a Lab, Beth Alisan.  All Rights Reserved.

Post Script

This month, the Lord seems to have my blogging friend Nora Edinger at Joy’s Journal and I on the same page or should I say the same trail in the theme of our writing.  I invite you to go read her post titled “Moving at the Speed of Life”

27 thoughts on “A Leaf Covered Trail: A Lesson on Walking by Faith

  1. Well, my blog friend, I just posted a nearly identical post before reading yours. God’s maneuverings never get boring, do they!? He’s really drawing us closer to His side. 🙂

    My post was also sparked by a doggy hike. It followed a long conversation with our oldest daughter, who’s on the brink of big decisions. Prayer, hiking, dogs. It’s all better than panic! Blessings!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “Praying, Hiking, Dogs. It’s all better than panic!” If I could embroider I would stitch those words up as a sampler in a heartbeat. I’m eager to read what you wrote and am headed over to your post right now.


  2. I know exactly what you mean by that leaf covered trail! Oh yes how to follow God’s call in this ling dark pathway called covid. Thanks for the wonderful pist and the lovely rendition if one of my favorite hymns. I kept waiting for them to plunge into Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus at the end but maybe that’s a second recording. Blessings

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Pastor Pete! I can’t think of a better follow us song than Tis so Sweet, especially with its opening words “‘Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, Just to take Him at His Word; Just to rest upon His promise, Just to know, “Thus saith the Lord!” What a blessing to walk forward in peace knowing we can take him at His Word and rest on His promises. Have a lovely day.


  3. Great analogy Beth. One I understand so well from my youthful walks in the Cardenden woods where I was raised. Autumn/Winter leafs not only hid the path but the occasional subsided coal hole, which was scary stuff. In life’s uncertain paths we are truly blessed by the guidance of the Godhead, who keep us safe and on the Narrow Way. Thank you Beth for this beautiful reflection, and thanks to Adi too. God bless you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Alan! I always appreciate your comments on these lessons. Why do I think there is a spin off lesson you could write about those dangerous leaf covered coal holes. I had to think back to your post Be Vigilant in the Spirit and your timely reminder that we need to “walk and pray in His Spirit discerning good from evil in every situation.” Dissension and false teachings being the coal holes that threaten our walk along the narrow way.


      1. That is a good idea Beth. I always say when someone comes to me with an original idea they should write it themselves, after all the Spirit gave them it first. So Beth, feel free to use it my sister. God bless you sister for your constant encouragement.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Diane

    Beth – your words speak to me today as I too am having difficulty understanding my path right now. Thank you for the reminder that taking one step at a time with the Lord as my light is all I need.

    Liked by 1 person

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