Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | January 2, 2014

The Trail Ahead

I have been doing lots of hiking and biking over the past few weeks, all part of getting in shape to do my first 130-mile thru-hike later this year. Thru-hiking is a term that refers to hiking the entire length of a long-distance trail from start to finish. As when I prepared for the Texas Water Safari ultra-marathon canoe race, I know that I will have to do lots of training in order to get in the best shape to hike the Lone Star Hiking Trail through the Sam Houston National Forest.

Hiking Books
In addition to hiking and biking, I am also preparing by reading a book on the Lone Star Hiking Trail on my Kindle app and just purchased copies of two other books on hiking trails in Texas and near Houston. I am amazed at the detail that each of these books includes about hiking trails in Texas — everything from distance, elevation, degree of difficulty to recommended times of the year to hike particular trails. The one thing that each of my new hiking books have in common is that they only share information on charted trails.

Every trail I have hiked or biked over the past months is a charted trail. I know that not because I read it in a book but because I have seen the evidence of those who ventured down the trails before me. Whether seeing the prints of hiking boots in the dirt or the imprints of mountain bike tires or a random piece of litter, all of these are indicators that someone else hiked or biked these same trails before me.

A couple of days ago we all took our first steps into the new year. The trail ahead of us is uncharted. There are absolutely no human footprints on this particular trail nor are there any trail maps to tell us how long we will journey down joyful or painful paths. We do, however, have some wise counsel from a man named Joshua, the guy who led the children of Israel across the Jordan River into the Promised Land.

As Joshua prepared to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land, he ordered the Levitical priests to lead the procession by carrying the Ark of the Covenant, the national symbol of God’s presence. Joshua then ordered the people to follow the ark. “Do not come near it,” Joshua warned, “that you may know the way by which you shall go, for you have not passed this way before” (Joshua 3:4).

When Joshua and the children of Israel stood at the trailhead into the unknown, he instructed the people to follow God’s leadership because they were going to a place that was unfamiliar to them. No one was permitted to walk or run ahead of the ark, the surest way to get lost. That’s still good advice for us today. Although there are no human footprints on the sands of tomorrow, because God inhabits eternity (Isa. 57:15) He is already at tomorrow waiting for us to get there. May you have an adventurous 2014 as you follow God on the trail ahead one step at a time.

Bike Sign


  1. Wonderful! You put ideas into words that absolutely come alive to the reader!

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