How many of you have ever hiked through any of the numerous national park systems we are so blessed to embrace in this country? If you have, you’re nodding your heads, beginning to visualize its beauty and splendor. If you haven’t, then let me take you on a journey…
Imagine yourself at the beginning of a trail head. Walking stick in hand. Hat on head. Water bottle attached to your belt. Walking boots laced tight. Mosquito repellent in adequate supply. Compass works. Camera ready. Let’s go.
If you choose an “easy” hike, chances are you will leisurely stroll through the dense forest of hemlock, maple, and spruce pine. The scent is definitely “woodsy”! Your footing could be on a well marked dirt path, or even a more “public friendly” paved path. You will walk in the shade of the trees for the most part, occasionally breaking into a less dense meadow or clearing and bask in the sunshine filtering through the taller trees.
If you chose a “moderate” to “extreme” hike, you’d better take a partner, and you’d better be in good physical condition! Your footing will be harder to maneuver and more difficult to endure. You may climb over boulders in your path, and up and over steep inclines.
Picture taking is a must! A deer may stroll into your view, or hide cautiously behind the trees, watching your every move. (Depending on what part of the country you are in, heed bear territory rules!) Abundant wildflowers and odd root formations make for interesting shots. If you look closely, you might even discover a few mushrooms growing in odd places. Be ready for a few surprises around the next corner!
Water sources are usually common in our national park systems. Meandering creek beds, cold mountain streams, or river rapids may pop up along your path.
You never know what to expect….unless you follow your trail map. When crossing these water sources, watch your footing. Wet rocks are very slick and hazardous. Look for stepping stones to guide you across.
After you have crossed creeks or streams, and splashed your face to cool off, sit on a log or big boulder and rest a bit. Don’t hurry through the experience…enjoy it!
Dwell on God and the creativity He displays within this park. This was His handiwork! Not man’s. Let Him speak to you there as you rest.
As always, be careful, because you may be in snake country! Keep an eye on where you step, especially before stepping in front of rocky crevices or rotted logs where snakes may hide.
The view out ahead of you can take your breath away! If you come upon an overlook, stop. Relish in God’s glorious handiwork. Absorb it. Remember it. Thank Him for it.
Caution! Stay on the marked trail. Too many people get lost in massive forests because they didn’t follow directions! Some have lost their lives as a result…if only they’d listened.
Take a snack on your hike. Power bars or protein foods like peanut butter or nuts will give you a boost.
Drink plenty of water on your hike! Dehydration in summer months can lead to many unpleasant situations. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
Can you see it yet?
Let me give you another visual. I’d like to think of our walk with Jesus as another hiking journey! Life can be a “walk in the park” sometimes, but at others it’s one of the “extreme” hikes in a dense forest. We need a partner. Christ. We need a map. The Bible. We need to fill our thirsty souls on the Living Water. Satan is that snake hiding where we least expect him to be, waiting to attack. Our stepping stones across the raging rivers of life are the people and circumstances God places before us when we need them most. Hold on tight! The footing can be difficult at best . We need guidance. God’s guidance to make the climb. We are reminded to stay on the Christian trail. Don’t stray. Bad things happen when we get off track. We should rest in the shade of His wings. Be still. Communicate with God. But most of all, we need to stay focused on Jesus. He’s the only compass we’ll need for the journey.
”Show me the path where I should walk, O LORD; point out the right road for me to follow.” (New Living Translation)
I bet He’ll even give us some pleasant surprises along the way….
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
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