The summer that I was 17 my family planned a vacation to France. Me brother and I thought it would be a fun adventure to do a backpacking trip while our parents stayed with friends. This was our first major excursion we had planned together. We were excited to embark on our adventure. We studied maps and found a route that looked promising , a route that passed by lakes, crossed mountains, and followed creeks. We planned where we would spend the nights and what food we would eat. After all the preparation, finally the day arrived when we were dropped off. We got our backpacks and started our journey.
We spent the first night at the ruins of an old house. After a good night’s sleep we packed up our things. Carrying full backpacks, we got on our way. We regularly looked at a map to make sure we were on the right path. After lunch on the second day, we started our journey to cross a mountain. The path we were on was a small paved road that soon turned to gravel. It eventually turned into a dirt road, and it progressively got smaller and smaller until it turned into a small path. We continued our hike, as the path was well traveled. But the longer we went, the smaller the path became. We continued for a little bit, and by now we were in the short alpine scrubs, just tall enough to block the view and thick enough to cover the ground.
After a little while the small path was gone. We traced our steps backward, but to no avail. We could not find the path. We were lost in these bushes where we could not see much beyond a few feet. We were lost, and our water was running out. We knew we were in trouble, so we prayed.
Then we chose to hike down a ravine. While hiking in the ravine, I happened to look up and saw a rock. It wasn’t anything special, but I felt that we needed to climb back up the embankment and get to the rock. So my brother followed me up to the rock. As soon as we came around the rock, we found the trail. We were thrilled and took a minute to thank God.
This experience is one of several that I think of when I wonder where God is, when I feel alone or lost. I remember how God was present in those past experiences. This gives me hope, and I can cope with the situation at hand. And I am reminded of Moses talking with Joshua as he shared these comforting words: “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged” (Deut. 31:8, NIV). We can be certain that God is with us when we are lost and when we are not. He is with us in the good times and the bad.