In July 2021, we moved to Siloam Springs from Georgia. We decided to take the 12-hour trip over the span of two days, so we spent the night before our official first-day in Siloam in Russellville.

It was only two and a half hours away, so we could get up from the hotel and arrive in Siloam by noon -- just in time to get settled on Saturday before preaching my first sermon at my new home: FBC Siloam Springs.

The day started out quite normal. We got up, ate some breakfast, packed the van with our bags and hit the road headed west toward Fort Smith. About a half an hour into the trip, just around the exit for Ozark, we encountered a fender-bender that was almost certain to delay us. I did what any self-respecting man would do: took the next exit to get around the traffic. "The joke's on them," I said aloud as we passed them all on an access road.

Soon, we came to a point in the road where the asphalt became gravel, which soon gave way to loose dirt. I told my wife to get out her phone and find out where the closest exit to the highway was located. As I drove the next five, 10, 15 minutes over hills, around hills, up hills, and over creeks, my wife informed me that there was no cell signal. So, I did what any self-respecting man would do: I kept driving.

A few miles down the road, her signal came back and it instructed us that we were only a few short minutes from the entrance to the highway -- back in business. As we drove further, we noticed that we weren't the only ones who had taken this little "shortcut" through the Arkansas wilderness. When I saw all those cars, I immediately felt so much better. That is until I saw one of the cars pull a u-turn out of the line and begin making its way toward us. As the car got closer, the young man put his arm out the window, flagged us down, and with sheer exhaustion in his voice said to me, "No use going this way. A semi-driver tried to cross that little bridge that goes over the creek and he was too wide. Both of his front tires are hanging off the road and a tow-truck's on the way, but you ain't gonna get through this way for a couple of hours. Your best bet is to turn around and take the next left and follow it around."

I had no choice but to heed his advice. He seemed to know the area well. I followed his advice and took the next left. We drove for another 20 minutes or so wondering where this was taking us. Eventually, the gravel gave way to asphalt.

"We're saved," I heard my daughter exclaim from the back seat.

I looked up and saw a sign that read: Pig Trail Scenic Byway.

"This is good. The road is asphalt and it will be scenic: a win-win situation," I proudly stated as someone who had lived in Arkansas all of two hours.

As we began to climb the road that led up the side of the mountain, we discovered that we were behind a huge logging truck that was hauling pine trees. With every bump, curve and dip around those switchbacks my wife was quite certain that the whole load would be emptied out onto us. She endured the whole drive with her hands over her eyes, peering out every few minutes as if she was watching a horror film.

Needless to say, we made it. It would only be the first of many adventures that we would have in Arkansas -- with many more to come.

Paths are simply routes along God's plan that lead us toward His purpose -- sometimes straight and open, sometimes behind a logging truck and full of switchbacks. Regardless of the road that you find yourself on, know that you aren't alone -- and it leads to His promises.

Listen to "Take Me Home, Country Roads" by John Denver.

Jeremy DeGroot is Lead Pastor at FBC Siloam Springs, a husband, daddy, and musician. You can contact him via email at [email protected] or reach out on Facebook.