Finding Your Way In A Forest
The forest in the morning was like dark fresh coffee- bold and wild. Everything in me wanted to gulp down that black honey courage and charge towards the summit. The air was moist and moving like a river carrying me along it’s current toward majestic heights.
Phase 1 of finding your way:
MAP IT OUT-Pay close attention to your surroundings, landmarks and relate your location to the map. What is your daily passion, you think about it everyday. How can your passion and God’s plan collide? Brian Houston, Pastor of Hillsong Church, preached about Paul in writing to the church at Corinth: “What comes upon me daily- my deep concern for all the churches.” God’s plan is for you and I to live for a glorious pursuit, for Paul it was the church. Paul also wrote to the Corinthians, “God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.” (2 Cor 9:8)
Grace equips you and I for good works. Surround yourself with people equipped by grace. Even though you are so excited— map it out, prepare, and get wisdom.
Proverbs 4:7 The beginning of wisdom is this: get wisdom.
Though it cost all you have, get understanding.
As you prepare don’t lose sight of the joy of your there -where ever that is! Read God’s word, find a mentor, take the class, buy the ticket, apply yourself to the training. Reading the map for faith in the wild- is knowing God’s word. Read the map- how does grace work, what does faith look like? Study the faith chapter Hebrews 11. Sign up for Bible study, take the adventure of growing in your faith.
By midday the wonder had worn, just a little. In the afternoon, the Sun’s violent appearing, the heat of the day, the overcrowded forest and dust of the trail drying the breath in my lungs battered my resolve like children taking swings at a piñata. Yet, the adventure is before and so much ground behind the urge to move forward wills me on.
Phase 2 of finding your way:
LOCATE TRUE NORTH When you can’t find your way- stop and find true north- GOD WITH YOU. God has promised to be with you. The final words of Christ to the disciples before physically leaving- “and I am with you always”- two worlds colliding God with you and fallen humanity around you. Moses was an incredible follower of God and his response to the command to go has often been echoed by missionaries, pastors, mothers and fathers, leaders in the faith for thousands of years. Exodus 33:13 Now therefore, if I have found favor in your sight, please show me now your ways, that I may know you in order to find favor in your sight. Consider too that this nation is your people. 14 And he said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” 15 And he said to him, “if your presence will not go with me, do not bring us up from here.”
Navigate forests of doubt in our culture knowing God is with you. Don’t forget to rest in God- if you need encouragement read Prepared to Rest.
The lyric from “great is thy faithfulness” stands out. All I have needed thy hand hath provided- one line of raw truth to encourage you that your GOD who is with you is faithful!
Ask, “What am I willing to trust God to provide?”
The rabbit trails of thought are just as important as the trails you travel.
“God will provide” – Is a great trail of thought to rehearse while feet are mounting an ascent. When you are standing in the middle of the forest, not there yet- pay close attention, and watch your trails of thought. PSALM 120-134 the Psalms of Ascent- could be of use here.
Replace doubt with the word, with truth. (example)
Lie: The last summit is the only blessed one.
Truth: God moves forward with you. He is interested in your next step, your next adventure, your untold future, even when you can’t see the way.
Unexpected blessings await you. Unrecognized comfort and courage will be yours in the moments you need them. There is something about a forest that makes us feel small. It causes us to pull together, to walk in fellowship, exercise our faith in our God who is with us.
The mountains and sun share the ridge before leaving the sky alone with the hosts of night. The forest begins her unwelcome change. Invitations in the morning turn into no trespassing signs as the round hope of sun runs ahead where I can not follow. Left alone in twilight shadows the moon hits the sky, a damp chill hits my bones, and my thoughts began to race, where am I?
Phase 3 in navigating your way is stay calm- panic is your enemy. Trust your map. Do not walk aimlessly.
1 Cor. 9:26a Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; NIV
Try to exclude the possibility of suffering- and you find that you have excluded life itself. CS Lewis
Suffering is part of the wildness of life, no man has tamed it nor escaped it. Charity Rattray
Romans 8:18 For I consider that our present sufferings are not worth to be compared with the glory that will be revealed in us.
Success is not final, failure is not fatal. It’s the courage to continue that counts. Winston Churchill
The only way to make sense out of the change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance. Alan Watts
Know Jesus rescues. Hopeless is defeated by God over and over in the word, and in lives today. When God rescued 3 men from a blazing fire for following him- it was said of God “there is no other god who is able to rescue this way” and what they said before their rescue- “Even if he does not we will not bow down to any other god.”
We often get caught up in the hardness of life, the path feels weary/heavy and we need a place of supply, of resource, of provision.
Jesus calls out to us, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” He says in his word- “Come to me!” Which is a command, get over here. Come close. While hiking there are times when I call my dogs, and kids close- we have often come across fresh kill in the Naneum Creek area- or the cold burrows through their layers. They need encouragement, water, rest, another layer and I call them to receive.
Jesus called out to Blind Bartimaeus, who was on the path. See with me a clear view of God’s compassion.
And they came to Jericho. And as he was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a great crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the roadside. And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” And Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” And they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take heart. Get up; he is calling you.” And throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. And Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” And the blind man said to him, “Rabbi, let me recover my sight.” And Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him on the way.
(Mark 10:46-52 ESV)
Follow Jesus. Pray, God I trust that you know me and my days are in your hands. You are the way, I invite your Presence to lead me, as I move forward today.