There are times in life when we will pass by a significant historical marker that will contain a link to our personal history but at the time we pass it by, its connection to us will remain hidden until revealed.
About 20 years ago, I was driving with a friend through the Cascade Mountains east of Medford, Oregon. As we turned off of the highway onto a side road, my friend slowed his truck and said, “Look over to your right. See that marker? It marks the path of the original Applegate Wagon Train of 1846.” Like most historical markers, I found the history interesting, but since it did not connect to my life in a personal way, that was as far as my interest went. Two years later the significance of the marker would change when I found out my relatives were on the Applegate Wagon Train.
Some of you have been passing by spiritual markers left by previous generations that will someday be made known to you. These markers of obedience and remembrance were strategically placed by the Lord for your discovery and recognition. When I discovered that my family was on the original wagon train into our valley, it impacted my life greatly. Jan and I have retraced hundreds of miles of trail markers leading from our home in southern Oregon into the deserts of Nevada. A sense of connection and belonging was deposited in my life that was unrealized until it was discovered.
While on our trip retracing the original wagon train path, I remember standing atop Fandango Pass where my weary ancestors finally realized the dry and difficult desert was behind them and the lush green valleys of western Oregon were now within reach. I could imagine the prayers of my ancestors who would have given thanks knowing their long and arduous journey was soon to be finished. In some ways, I have a sense, I am receiving a blessing from those prayers.
In the coming days, the Lord will remind some of you of previously unrealized markers placed along the path of your personal history. These markers will be like the stone memorial Joshua had the Israelites construct as a reminder to future generations that God made a way when no way was thought possible. This connection with your history will affirm once again that you are not where you are today by accident or coincidence. You carry with you a history that will help define your future. For many years, and in some cases, for centuries, the Lord has been leading your family line to this very moment in history for greater purposes than first imagined.