I recently spent a week with my beautiful wife and amazing Sister-in-law in Wyoming. We spent three days and four nights hiking, camping and exploring the Grand Tetons in the Jedidiah Smith Wilderness.
The mountains were magnificent! They were huge. And beautiful! It was almost too much for our minds to take in. We had 8 bear sightings. So freakin’ cool! One black bear, no doubt, came too close for comfort (within 30 yards). But it was incredible to see these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat!
Here are some thoughts from the trip. Some things the LORD’s impressed upon me.
For four days we operated without looking at our phones. Hard to imagine these days, huh? No rings. No dings. No alarms. No interruptions. No distractions. No scrolling or tweeting or messaging. It was absolutely glorious! And freeing. And took away so much stress. This MUST be a regularly practice for us. All we have to do is look at the life of our King to understand its importance.
Luke 5:16 says, “Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer.” I love the NLT version of this. WILDERNESS. You don’t have to go to the mountains. Just find some time away from others and distractions any way you can. Wake up before the kids get up. Utilize the ‘space’ in your schedule purposefully. And don’t lie to yourself. You CAN find the time. Follow Jesus. Get away. Find solitude and rest.
- God Delights In Us:
The vastness and size of the mountains can make you feel so small. And even insignificant. And it’s true. We are small. But Jesus loves us like we’re His greatest treasure. Because we are! His love for us is far too great for us to fathom! He’s not disappointed in us. He’s not waiting for us to ‘get our act together.’ We don’t have to clean up or do anything. The invitation’s always there. To come to Him. Jesus says, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28 NLT)
- Life Is Precious:
We left for our adventure on the heels of mourning the deaths of three friends. The first, William Spry. A friend, longtime teammate, and unbelievably bright and loving young man rarely seen without a smile. The next, Colin Clarke. My former teammate and a new dad. And then Jake Stephens. A man I’d only met once, who left a lasting impression. All passed away unexpectedly. And all were way too young.
Celebrating Spry’s life a couple days before we took off for our trip was a special, but sad day. I was reminded how short, fragile and precious life is! It’s here one day, gone the next. I wish I could keep this perspective. Focusing more on what truly matters. Not success. Or making a name for myself. Not power, wealth or status. But people. My family and friends. Our loving Father! Life’s truly about relationships.
We were created to Work. I thoroughly enjoyed our time meandering through the mountains. Looking for wild animals. Taking in the glorious scenery. But I was eager to get back to work. We are hard-wired and created to work. I believe we all have in us an intrinsic desire to provide value. To create. Contrary to what many think, God created work as a good thing. “The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.” (Genesis 2:15 ESV)
- Be Present:
How often are you present? In the moment? Really and truly soaking it in? For me, it’s all too rare. Oh, how I wish it wasn’t so. The present is where everything happens. We should spend more time there! But, all too often, the past and future rule our thoughts and attention. It’s really a dawgon shame. We miss so much.
Psalm 118:24 says, “This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” This is the day. Today is the day! None of us are guaranteed tomorrow. We mustn’t wish things away. We must soak it in. Breathe. Pray, fight and work with all of us to live intentionally. Purposefully. In the here and now!
- He’s Glorious:
We set up camp by one of the many lakes in the Alaska Basin. We spent our days hiking and exploring the many trails and mountains throughout that region. What stood out to me was how the mountains changed when we moved. We thought we knew the peaks from one angle. But when we moved, it came alive in different ways. At times, seeming like a completely different mountain. There was so much to see. The mountains were so big. The range so vast. And we so small. I think God’s like those mountains. He’s so big, so vast and so wonderful! We can’t possibly take Him all in. We think we know Him. But then we move and grow. Or get stretched. And He comes alive in ways we’ve never experienced Him before.
“In The Heavens: Intimate Moments with Your Majestic God,” Kevin Hartnett grapples with what understanding beyond measure looks like: “Indeed, through His own gracious revelation of Himself, we can understand God in part, but we can never fully comprehend Him, or even a single one of His qualities. There will always be more of His wisdom to understand, more of His power, more of His holiness, more of His love. We will never fathom Him, and we will never tire of Him. Through all eternity, we will look upon Him and marvel at the endlessly creative, wonderfully gracious, uniquely righteous, timelessly beautiful, unsearchably glorious, infinitely loving Maker and Ruler of all.” AMEN!
- We’re Better Together:
I’ve been blessed beyond my wildest dreams with the greatest family. Immediate and extended. Sure they’re all crazy. But so am I. We all are in our own way. Maybe, for you, family conjures up nightmares and makes you feel queasy. Your family doesn’t have to be blood though. It’s whomever you want it to be. But our trip wouldn’t have been possible if we didn’t have family/friends to step in and take care of our kids and all we left behind. They sacrificed for us. Gave, so we could have. It was the first time Daphne and I were both going to be away from our kids for an extended period. We missed our rambunctious boys, but time away was much needed. And we are thankful for it. As we know not everyone’s afforded this opportunity.
Pure and simple, life is so much better with others. It’s better shared. It’s better when you surround yourself with others who love you for you!
What’s He Telling You?
I believe God’s always speaking to us. In different ways. Through other people. Through creation. Most definitely, through Scripture. But, the question is, are we listening?
What’s He telling you?
Be bold. Be brave. Keep the faith!