Philippians 4:8: Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
Proverbs 3:5-6: Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.
There is nothing quite like being separated from the busyness of the rat race to seek the tranquility of the wilderness. Growing up in the Adirondack Park of upstate NY, I really took for granted the peace, beauty, and ruggedness of the great outdoors. If you are from the city and used to the city life, being in the woods, hiking, biking, or climbing mountains could be very scary. The threat of animals, or getting hurt is not what I am talking about necessarily. However, that also may be a thought that crosses the mind when the car turns off, and the first steps into the woods begin. The scary part for most is the humbling nature and the enormity of it all. There is a quietness that forces one to focus on something much larger. Nothing brings out raw pure emotion, like trekking deep in solitude. and the canopy of the tree line. When we are out of the clutches of the worldly things like cell phones, deadlines, and bills the normal everyday responsibilities slip away. So too do the walls of protection we have all built around ourselves. We in essence become vulnerable, without control, without excuses, and maybe worst of all, without our venti double shot Americano!
When all of those things are gone, what we are left with is honesty, and the desperate understanding of our total reliance on Jesus. When I am done with a long hike, or a camping trip deep in the woods, there is a humility and a truth that feels complete in the knowledge that I was sustained, and led through an experience that cannot be replicated. The distractions are different, and while the great outdoors is so massive in comparison to our bodies, the focus can turn inward quickly. The voice of the Lord becomes louder. Some people call where I grew up, "God's country" and it is because it is beautiful, alive, and quiet enough to hear Him when He speaks.
I often focus on those times that I have had with the Lord, and reflect on His power which is incomprehensible to our perception as humans. We cannot fully grasp the amazing awe of who He is. We can sometimes think about what He does, or does not, but to be with Him in a situation or place that is beyond our control scrapes the surface of understanding.
If you are going through a tough time in life, surrounded by things that feel enormous, no matter what your geographical location is, we often describe that as being "in the wilderness". Remember we are to lean not on our own understanding. That can be a bad medical report, a financial struggle, a loss of some sort. Anything that feels larger than our control. For some of us it is uncharted territory, and has its own sets of fears. When we are faced with these things, try and remind yourself that He is in everything. He is everywhere. When I am faced with those things, I find myself looking at it as a step into the woods with my Heavenly Father leading the way. What we realize quickly is that all the "things" of this world have little value, and it is the voice, love, and leadership of God that we crave above all else.
Thank You Father for being with us each step of the way through this life. And just like the deep woods, we see You as our refuge from the traps of this world. Let us see You as larger than any of our problems today. In Jesus name, amen.
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