Intentional detour: What I learned from our Mount Lanaya trek

“Are we nearly there yet?”

I could hear myself asking that question every 5 minutes as we ascend Mount Lanaya following the Minag-a trail. The sun was at its highest and we can feel our sweat dripping from all over our body. Our water supply is almost out and it was nearing noon time and we could still not see the peak of the mountain.

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Our veteran trekkers, Kuya Jeffrey and Ralph, were surveying the area and Kuya Jeff suddenly declared “We found a shortcut!”.

Big smiles painted on our faces as we rushed to the newly found trail. Excitement filled our bodies with the thought that we would be able to reach the peak before noontime and then boom! A dead end. Surprise! Surprise!

Still dizzy because of dehydration, I did not pay attention to the suggestions people were throwing as to what is the best solution to our situation. I can hear someone suggested that we should go back while the others waited for Kuya Jeff, Ralph, and Jojo find a new trail that we can follow. Kuya Jeff decided to climb the sloping hill in front of us and see if he can find a passage leading to the peak.

I stood there and patiently waited for their decision, not really minding about anything, since all I could think about that time was how to make my water supply last until we finish this trek. My senses came back to life when I heard someone said “We can’t go back. That’s a long way back. We have to climb up this slope”. I stared at the slope we were about to climb and oh boy, things was not really looking good.

The trail looked more like a water trail than a human trail. The soil gave away as we made our steps and I saw a big chunk of rock fell to the ground as I tried to step on it. Not to mention the swarm of ants that attacked us while we were climbing up the slope. I could hear myself and the other trekkers complaining and Jojo (one of my trek mates) suddenly said out loud, “Why did we take this shortcut? That was a way decent trail back there, we could just have followed it!”

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That experience is very similar to how we deal with our spiritual life. God has set out a plan for all of us and He has established a clear pathway in order for us to reach our destination but we still love making detours. A detour can be anything that takes you away from what God has set before you. It could be a person, a hobby, a relationship, etc. Generally, detours are choices we make that are out of God’s will.

The world offers us a lot of choices to distract us from what God has planned for us. At first these choices look nice and most of the time they are very tempting. Everything will be okay at first and before you know it, you are heading for a dead end. And most of us would not want to go back (just like what we did) and just decide to press on since it’s a long and tiring way back. As we press on, we realize that it’s not a pretty journey.

Since these choices are driven out of selfish desires, most of the time these choices hurt us and bring big damage to our lives. And in some cases, we don’t want to admit that we made a wrong decision and just try to fix things ourselves even bringing more pain and damage to us, (let’s admit it, we get driven by our pride most of the time) until we find ourselves helpless of our situation and asking God to help us. God, being a merciful and a loving Father that He is, will bring us up and will lead us back to Him again.

Temptations are normal to every Christian. Temptations will always be there as you walk with the Lord, but the good thing is, God won’t allow you to be tempted if he knows you can’t handle it. As what is stated in 1 Corinthians 10:13,

“The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.”

So, if you are in a situation right now where you feel like you have fallen into temptation and you are having a hard time finding your way back to God, always remember that someone has also experienced that same temptation and has been through that same situation, and God has rescued him out of that pit.

God is sovereign even in our detours. I always believe in God’s divine guidance even when we are walking out of His will and God will not allow his children to sin successfully. You can try and sin, but you will never ever succeed. Because of his love and grace for us, God will intervene and lead us back to Him.

I have also taken a lot of detours in my life and every time the outcome is not pretty. Those choices left me broken and hurt, and every time I find God intervening and I find myself back in His arms again. Human as we are, we like to do things our way and give in to our selfish desires, but we need to always remember that God is sovereign. He sees and knows everything and He only wants what is best for us. So when God is leading you somewhere, don’t resist it and just follow because for sure that is the best and perfect trail for you.

Now back to our Lanaya trek, after what felt like an eternity of climbing that buwis-buhay slope, Kuya Jeffrey finally shouted “I found the trail!” from afar. I can see relief from our faces as we finally got to see the decent trail leading to the peak. We decided not to take any detours again and just follow that trail and finally we reached the peak of the mountain.

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From there, I can see a 360 degree view of the city and everything below, and I thought to myself, “God must also have this same bird’s eye view of my life”. I finally understood the consequences of taking detours and I finally understood what it means to trust God’s plans.

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