This summer and last, Alex and I have committed to backpack sections of the Colorado Trail. We have committed to step into the wild, unplug from distractions, enjoy some time together, and cover miles of some of the most beautiful backcountry in the United States. Our goal is to hike the 485-plus-mile trail, 4-5 sections per summer, until Alex graduates and then hike the entire trail that summer (it should take about a month).
As we have ventured into the woods, we have learned things about ourselves, nature, discovered numerous truths about God and our relationship with Him and how that spills over into our daily interactions. I hope to summarize some of these realizations and encourage you to wrestle with them l, as we have, and that they lead to spiritual growth and transformation.
Passionate Pursuit– A little more than a week ago, Alex and I struck off for our longest trek to date, 31.5 miles in three days. We covered 40 miles of the trail across multiple hikes last summer and we knew the task that was before us, yet we approached this challenge with excitement, determination, and passion for spending time in the amazing creation of God. Does our walk with God mirror that passionate pursuit? I can look back on the trail I have walked with God and know that it is taxing, beautiful, frustrating, convicting, uphill, and completely worth it. Learning to passionately pursue God and point others to the adventure of walking with God is our task according to the Great Commission.
Glory– I am not a morning person. This is not a new revelation to many of you. I have worked several jobs that require me to wake before the sun and I still have not been able to make t
hat my routine. That being said, tents don’t have blackout curtains. The sunrise is bright and, every time I am out on the trail I wake shortly after the sun comes up. The glory of God refers to His radiance and splendor. We get to experience God’s glory on display through things we take for granted in the city. Things like the sun (especially rising or setting), breathtaking vistas, and the amazing creation that is right around us. Sometimes our routine gets in the way of noticing God in the ordinary. We are so focused on what is next that we forget to think about Who created, loves and sustains. God’s imprint is all around. Take a minute to recognize and worship God for giving us small glimpses of His glory.
Work– Each trip that Alex and I take requires work. There is work to do to prepare our gear, food and water. We work hard on the trail carrying around 30 pounds each, for miles. We work to cook, clean, set up and tear down camp. Backpacking is not for the faint of heart. Work is also necessary for us to reach our goals. Life in the kingdom of God is very similar. God has created works for us to walk in them (Eph 2:10). In Matthew 20, Jesus tells a story of Laborers in the Vineyard. Each laborer is hired to work during the harvest. God draws us into His kingdom, not to bask in His glory, but to work in His vineyard. The kingdom of God is not something we gain through our work but there is much work to do once we enter.
Adventure– Maps are great. We use them to make sure that we don’t get lost, but the two-dimensional nature of them does not give the full picture of the trail. Each bend in the trail presents different views and experiences. There have been multiple times that we have rounded a corner to see an alpine valley below, walk into an aspen grove that stretches for miles, or to see more of the incline you thought or wished was over. Walking with God takes us into the unknown. We have an idea where the journey is taking us, but we cannot say what is around the next bend in trail. God has a plan for us and leads us forward into the great unknown. The adventure of following God is worth every step and challenge on the trail.
It is my prayer God will take these musings and challenge us and you to step deeper into relationship with Him. The journey is worth the work and the relationship deepens with each step and challenge. So, get out on the trail with God and experience His glory.