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Whether you turn to the right or the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it.’ Isaiah 30:21
On a recent short holiday in Perthshire, I visited a favourite mountain, Ben Lawers, once climbed, but that is too much of an effort now.
The lower slopes have a beautiful nature trail, that in itself is quite challenging on the steep rocky path. It climbs beside a stream with lots of little waterfalls, before crossing over the water and descending. Enough for me today, I decided.
However, I overshot the left turn and found myself heading higher up the lower slopes towards the path leading to the summit. I was definitely on the wrong path, so sat down and thought about it, got out the map, and realised I was heading for a place I had heard of, a meadow where in the 18th century cattle were taken for the summer and watched over by people living in huts, their ruins marked on the map, shielings.
So onwards and upwards I went, until reaching a place where I looked down on the ruins, their imprint on the land clearly visible. Sitting in the warm spring sunshine it was quite moving to imagine the scene here in those long ago days.
A wrong turning? Maybe not!
In life, all of us get it wrong at times and follow paths emotionally or spiritually which lead to a dead end or danger or heartbreak. Parents try to prevent their children from taking an unwise path, but sometimes all they can do is stand by and be there to pick up the pieces and help them to start again.
We are the children of a gracious and loving God who wants the best for us. But we have free will and when we get it wrong, God, like the best possible earthly parent, will be waiting for us in love. And if a “wrong” turn turns out to be an unexpected delight, surely God is sharing the joy.
Reverend Joyce Watson, Isle of Iona.