My husband and I decided to go on a hike for our anniversary a few years ago. Our goal was to hike to a place called Cecret Lake. We obtained maps. But the maps were a bit vague and only got us as far as the trail head. From there we were supposed to follow some posted signs that would direct us to the lake.
We set out on the trail along with several others who wanted to reach the lake. We walked along what was a rather easy path until we got to a washed out section of the trail. Not knowing that the trail continued on past the obstacle in our path we noticed what looked like it ought to be the trail. We found that some of the others had also chosen to follow that path. It also started out as an easy trail to follow.
Soon, however, the terrain began to be a bit steep and navigating it began to be quite a challenge. But we had been told that the trail was not an easy one. We continued pursuing the trail before us. As lunch time neared we found a bit of a clearing and realized we were not going in the direction of the lake. We wondered if the trail would wind back in the right direction.
As we ate our lunch we were joined by others who had been diverted to the same path we were on. We began to question whether the trail we were on would take us to the lake or somewhere else. We decided to send one person on a bit further to investigate where the path would take us.
When our designated person returned we learned that the path we were on would lead us nowhere—at least, nowhere we wanted to be. We all decided to turn back. We had already spent a good part of the morning following the incorrect path and many wondered if it was even worth their time to try and find the right trail.
My husband and I, along with a few others, decided to go back to the last place we had seen a sign post. After a short time we found the sign and once again began our quest to reach the lake. We soon found the place where the path had been washed out and saw that others were on the other side of that obstacle. We easily walked around it and soon we were on the trail again.
The rest of the trail was not an easy hike, but we knew we were on the right path. We began to see more and more signs giving us more and more direction to keep us on the right path that would take us to the lake. The path began to be very steep and narrow. But the signs remained and we continued on our course.
As we came around one last bend we spotted the long sought after Cecret Lake. It was a very small lake. But the beauty surrounding it was well worth the trek we had made to reach it. A few minutes after we reached the lake we turned to see some of those who had been on the wrong path with us had also made it. We rejoiced at seeing each other, knowing that we had persevered and won.
Why do I tell this story? This is a story about faith. No matter how much faith we had put in the first path we took it would not get us to our desired location. It was not until we decided to change our course that we found the path where our faith would help us obtain the prize. There were many who simply lost all faith and never reached the sought after lake.
Just as it is in life—we often place our faith in things and people who will lead us away from the only path that will help us reach our desired destination—that of returning to God, our Heavenly Father. It is not until we place our faith in Jesus Christ and His guides that we may obtain that which we seek.
There are many people along the way who may profess to be His guides or those who simply misguide us. Like those we followed on the first path who thought they knew the way. And just as in life, we often come to what we perceive to be obstacles or stumbling blocks that divert our attention away from the real path.
We may find that we have been diverted from the only path that will take us where we want to be. It is then that we must change our course or lose our way. It is then that we often wonder how can we know what path will lead us there. This is a question we all may ask. How can we know? Who can we trust? How can we be certain when there are so many voices insisting we must follow them—that they are right?
Dennis DeYoung of the rock group Styx so aptly penned these thoughts in their hit song--
Show Me the Way:
Every night I say a prayer in the hopes that there's a heaven.
And everyday I'm more confused as the saints turn into sinners
All the heroes and legends I knew as a child have fallen to idols of clay
And I feel this empty place inside so afraid that I've lost my faith.
Show me the way, show me the way
Take me tonight to the river and wash my illusions away.
Please show me the way.
And as I slowly drift to sleep, for a moment dreams are sacred
I close my eyes and know there's peace in a world so filled with hatred
That I wake up each morning and turn on the news to find we've so far to go
And I keep on hoping for a sign, so afraid that I just won't know.
Show me the way, Show me the way
Bring me tonight to the mountain and take my confusion away
And show me the way
And if I see a light, should I believe
Tell me how will I know...
This hike to Cecret Lake taught me that Faith is more than words of praise to our Lord. As the prophet Alma taught:
"And now as I said concerning faith—faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true."
"But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe..." (Alma 32:21,27)
And then Moroni later added:
"Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.
And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things." (Moroni 10: 3-5