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  • Shawn Thornton

An Unseen Path

Wednesday - August 19th Scripture to Read for Today's Devotional: Psalm 77:16-20

Today's Selection from our Sermon on the Mount Reading Plan: Matthew 5:27-32

Your road led through the sea,

your pathway through the

mighty waters -- a pathway

no one knew was there!

Psalm 77:19 (NLT)


When I was a kid, our family took a few trips to a small, rustic cabin in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. From our home in Northern Indiana, we crossed the entire "mitten" of the Lower Peninsula, traversed the famous and beautiful Mackinac Bridge, and eventually traveled a rutted tire road to the cabin with no running water or electricity. My Grandma and Grandpa Thornton had been part owners in this little spot on the shore of Mirror Lake - inaccessible in the heart of the winter.

The cabin in the UP of Michigan had an old fashioned hand pump outside to get water. We used kerosene lanterns for light and the lake itself as our bathtub. While a beautiful, remote spot in God's creation, it was rustic! We had an outhouse twenty to thirty feet from the cabin. It, too, was nothing to write home about. After all, it was an outhouse.

We stopped going to the cabin when I was about seven or eight years of age. I hold onto some great memories from there. Most of them are simple snapshots from the mind of a child. But, they are special to me. Images of my dad priming the hand pump to get water from the well, turning out the kerosene lamp at bedtime, and being on a boat fishing with my dad and brother are all wonderful images in my mind from times at the cabin.

One of the strongest memories I have that comes in many different snapshots is taking the trip to the outhouse from the cabin in the middle of the night. One of my parents would walk me there at night. We would look around as we left the cabin or the outhouse to see if there were any wild animals between the two structures. The area has many bears. So, when you are outside in the middle of the night, you pay attention to the path from point A to point B. One of the clearest memories I have of the cabin is that path - that path at night.

The path felt safe. The path was the way that carried me where I needed to go. Most of us, during frightening or uncertain times, look for a clear, safe path forward. We need it. We search for it.

Soon after Moses lead the Nation of Israel from bondage in Egypt, the nation was trapped with the waters of the Red Sea on three sides and the Egyptian army on the fourth side. There seemed to be no way out - no path forward. God opens a way forward. It is not what anyone expected. They walked through the red sea on dry ground. God made a way where no way forward seemed possible. He miraculously opened an unseen path forward.

In Psalm 77, nearly 500 years later, Asaph celebrated what God did for Israel. He notes the incredible way God made a path forward for His people in verses sixteen through twenty. Read Asaph's descriptions of that miraculous event in those verses. Look at the extent to which God would go to open up a pathway for His people. Asaph suggests that if God did that for Israel, He would do that for us.

Maybe in the months of COVID-19, you have felt boxed in on all sides. Perhaps you have felt like there was no way forward. You could find no pathway to follow. Look to God. Let Him open up a way for you to move forward in His time and not yours. Remember that the path He may have for you is strange or secret right now. Trust Him. Even if you are surrounded on all sides with little hope forward, God can provide a way you have never considered.

Don't panic if there seems to be no pathway forward. Leave that to God. He can part the sea and provide a way you never thought possible.

God may take you down a secret and strange pathway, but He will be with you all the way.

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