The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.Psalm 19:1
Hiking is a sacred form of worship. Most of the hikes I have been on have been connected to my spiritual walk. Several years ago, I met a very good friend and mentor on a hike through the Florida swamps. I’ve listened to hundreds of hours of audio books, podcasts, and sermons while walking through nature parks with my son asleep in the stroller. While I hike, I often pray, mediate, or talk to myself as I prepare a sermon, article, or just think through some concept.
Today, a friend joined me in worship, or, I should say, I joined him. My new friend Ben invited me out to Guntersville State Park to hike one of his favorite spots, the Town Creek Horse Trail.
We hiked 5.21 miles in about 3.5 hours. During that time we talked about our lives and our ministries. At seventy-four, he’s been through a lot, but it’s interesting how similar our trajectories are despite the major differences in our background.
As a veteran hiker, Ben came prepared with a camelbak water pack/ backpack, snacks, hiking poles, a vest, and gloves. As for me, I came equipped with what I usually wear on my walks, a pair of running shoes and a water bottle. Thankfully, he brought extra since he knew I’m new to these trails.
Being in the outdoors like that really has a way of putting things into perspective. When you look out over the Tennessee River valley, everything seems perfect. It’s beautiful, still, quiet, and just peaceful. But then you see the cars traveling in the distance or maybe one of the houses that look like board game pieces, and you know that in those cars and in those houses, things are less than perfect. Perhaps one of the people driving the car is coming back from their last day of work, and they don’t know where their next batch of groceries will come from. Or maybe one of the houses is filled with yelling and arguments in the evenings.
From one perspective, everything is beautiful, but when you zoom in on particular situations and lives, things seem less so.
The brilliance of the good news is that everything works for good. When we zoom in to a part of our life it may not seem that way. In fact, goodness may seem so unfamiliar to us that we don’t even think it’s possible. But the beauty of the gospel is that, even in death, God is able to do amazing things.
So the good news is kind of like that mountain in the picture below. It helps us see the broad picture, the beauty of the world around us. And this beauty, this majesty, isn’t back in the past somewhere or even way off in the future; it is all around us if we have eyes to see. The beauty in nature can become our reality everyday when we begin to trust and live out the message it teaches. That is the message is that life, death, and everything belongs to us.
God has revealed Himself in many ways. His presence is so obvious that people throughout time have worshiped Him, as the Bible itself points out. Some just called Him the unknown God.
God has revealed Himself through prophets, through the Bible, and, most of all, through Jesus. But there is another revelation that has been read and studied by men and women across the globe, and that is nature.
Nature teaches us so many wonderful things about God, and I had so much fun experiencing the presence of God in nature with my friend on our hike. Thank you Lord for giving us such a wonderful picture of who You are!