Walking around the lake in the winter is different somehow. Things that are easily noticeable in most seasons may be covered in snow. The plant life that is visible looks barren. There are fewer types of wildlife, and those that remain behave differently.
Circling the lake today, I was amazed at how many tracks were clear in the freshly fallen snow. Mine were the only human footfalls, but there were many solitary and group trails that led in one direction: toward the water. The path the ducks took to get to the water was made plain in the snow. I had never wondered about the specific route these birds took to the water, but with the tracks in the snow, it was easy to follow their exact steps.
I wondered if the snow was a hardship for the birds. Were their feet cold as they stepped through the wet, frigid moisture? Did they hurry to get to their destination? Did the slips I could see on the steep slope down into the water upset them? Did they squawk when they slipped?
Many people would agree that regarding weather, cold and snow are a hardship. In our lives, there are many, many hardships to be endured. Oddly enough, we, like those ducks leaving footprints in the snow, may leave the most visible trails when our paths take us through hardships. Others can see our actions and our path more clearly when they see us in the hard times.
That thought challenges me to be more careful of my steps. As a Christian, my real help comes from God. But is that the first place I go in difficult times? Or do my footprints show confusion, heading in many different directions? Like the ducks, in fair weather, we can do many things that don’t leave a trace. But in difficult times, our every step leaves a clear trail for all to see.
Clearly marked paths are easier to follow. What do your steps show? Where does your trail lead? If others follow your steps, will they be led to God? Whatever your hardship, turn your steps heavenward. And lead on!