I’d walked the path before without any problems, but this time was different. It had rained the night before, and Israel soil isn’t used to much rain. As a group of us walked to the Olive Sculpture near our hotel, the mud clung to our shoes. The farther we walked, the heavier our shoes became.
I led the way and tried to find the best path to avoid most of the mud, but it didn’t seem to matter where I walked. Mud caked the bottom of my shoes. A couple people talked about going back, but I kept thinking, “If we just get a little farther, the path will get better. We’ll cleaned off our shoes and find another way back.” But each step attracted more mud, like a magnet that attracted heavier and heavier metal objects. We talked about other things and laughed, but the mud wasn’t far from our minds as it covered our soles.
Then, we reached a path.
We scraped and stomped our shoes, and mud flung in every direction. Much of it stayed on our shoes, clinging as if it had been mixed with cement or bubble gum. At least now we were on a more solid path, so we forged forward to see the view that kept us going.
Our shoes weren’t clean, and it was tough to get to the sculpture, but we made it. Doesn’t it often happen that way? We struggle and want to go back, because we’re focused on the inconvenience and mess. If we persevere, we think we’ll reach a beautiful place and leave all the mess behind, but the mess sticks with us…perhaps as a reminder of the struggles we’ve endured.
Maybe we should be thankful for the mud. It slows us down enough to make us count the costs of going where we’re going. Our journey sticks with us. We see the beauty of life because of it, not in spite of it. We don’t just tolerate the journey, we find purpose in it. We stomp off the unnecessary stuff but let some of it work itself off as we continue.
We let God take care of the details as we follow each step He leads us to take.