One of the awesome things about Costa Rica is the opportunity it affords to visit the variety of volcanoes in various parts of the country. Most are not active, but they have a powerful presence just the same as you hike to view them from designated observation points. At one such volcano, I took part in a trust walk. It happened that when we got to the volcano, the view was crystal clear and we could smell the sulfur, see the immense power of the crater, be awed by the variety of colors and textures the crater possessed and be still and listen to the sounds emitted at its depths. Volcanoes hold a bit of mystery and seeing them against the vast mountainous landscape of Costa Rica and against the rich blue sky is a powerful experience.
As it happened that day, our perfect vista of the volcano was short lived as the clouds came rolling in rather quickly and within twenty minutes of our entering the spot, the volcano disappeared. If we hadn’t seen it with our own eyes, we might not have realized it even existed there as the cloud cover was so thick as to make it invisible to us. The speed of its disappearance was truly like a magician had simply laid a blanket over the top of the space.
Since we could no longer see anything, my friend suggested we take a walk around the perimeter a bit and so we headed out across the black sand of the rim. It was a pretty wide open space, a little bit cool at that elevation, and had sparse vegetation. He suggested to me that I should look at a tree at the far end of the grounds from where we were and by simply listening to his voice, see if I could head straight toward the tree. He promised to tell me if I came upon any notable obstacles. Not sure quite how I felt about the whole thing, I agreed somewhat timidly, but proceeded to close my eyes. He told me to walk and count to fifty and then stop and open my eyes as I listened to his voice. I did. When I got to fifty, he suggested I keep my eyes closed and go another fifty steps. I did, but this time he was no longer guiding me with his voice. After I walked about 25 steps, I stopped and called out to him. “Are you still there?” I asked. He assured me that he was and that I should count another 25 steps and then open my eyes.
At the suggested point, I stopped and asked if I could look to see where the tree was. I was pretty sure I had walked a fairly straight line and anticipated it would be close to me and directly in front of me. When I opened my eyes, I was astonished to discover the tree was nowhere in sight, in fact it was a good 90 degrees off to the side.
Several things happened in that experience. One, I had to totally trust my friend to watch out for me as I walked over uncertain terrain. Two, I had to keep listening to his voice so that I would both feel comforted and directed. Three I had to believe that I could achieve the goal of reaching the tree.
When I saw how far off the path I was I laughed out loud. “Isn’t it just like us to get off the path when we aren’t listening to God’s voice,” he postulated. “Isn’t it interesting how quickly we lose our way when we try to maneuver the path on our own?”
Most of us are on a continual trust walk as we go about our day to day tasks. We’re working toward a goal, believing we can get there, and yet oddly, not really getting where we meant to go. Perhaps we need to be much more aware of listening to His voice. If we don’t hear it, we may be wise to simply stop until we have caught His essence in the winds around us and understand the way we should go.
As Jesus said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” Mark 4:9
I don’t know about you, but I’m doing my best to keep my ears open.