Categories
Christian Living resilience

The Young Buck on Baldy Mountain

It is in the quiet of the woods that I hear and feel God’s presence without distraction.

Cori Strathmeyer

The Space Between is a marvelous blog I discovered recently that focuses on experiencing God in the great outdoors. On the site, Cori reflects on faith, family, hiking, yoga and other life pauses.

Her April 3 post, Walking with God, is a true gem that brought back memories of hiking in the Sangre de Cristo mountains of northern New Mexico over 30 years ago.

What ignited my vivid recollection was the author’s statement, “Hiking is moving meditation: miles of opportunity for prayer and reflection on scripture.”


I spent the summer of 1988 working at a Christian conference center near Santa Fe, New Mexico. It was an exquisite setting, with huge conifers, cold water creeks and mountains in every direction. There were also dozens of alluring trails in the area. I became a compulsive day hiker.

After several beginner and intermediate treks, this young buck (me) yearned for a challenge. One of my braver hiking buddies suggested a 12.4 mile (out and back) route, in the nearby Pecos Wilderness Area, that was rated difficult. It started at a picturesque creek and ended near the 12,000 foot summit of Baldy Mountain–a 3,000 foot elevation gain.

Piece of cake, right?

Please stay with me, kind reader. I promise to come to a good biblical point.

We started at sun up. It was early July, but at 8,600 feet the temperature was in the upper 30’s. You could see your breath! I shivered under my thin sweatshirt as we meandered up the narrow, winding trail.

Stands of pine and spruce trees towered above us, hiding the view of the valley below. Just when it seemed we’d been swallowed by the forest, a window appeared.

Farther up the mountain, where the trees and the air grew thinner, the trail became steep. There were so many switch backs I lost all sense of direction.

Finally, the top of “Old Baldy” came into view. I took off my backpack, next to a crystal clear lake, and sat down. That’s when it hit: EXHAUSTION. The euphoria of reaching the trail’s end suddenly gave way to wilting fatigue. Despite being 20 years old, and in top physical shape, I could barely move.

I ate the 80’s equivalent of a Power Bar and laid back on my pack. “Dear God,” I prayed, “please help me get down this mountain.”

The view of the summit (taken while sitting on my backside).😊

The next thing I know my buddy kicked the sole of one my boots, “Wake up, Dave. We need to start back.” I’d been asleep for an hour!

Thank God, I was able to stand. My strength had returned! Getting down the mountain turned out to be much easier than getting up it. This provided a fine opportunity for meditation on the move.

Have you ever had an experience that lined up with scripture word for word?

“Even those who are young grow weak; young men can fall exhausted. But those who trust in the Lord for help will find their strength renewed.” — Isaiah 40:30-31 (GNT)

It’s deceptively easy to walk up a mountain–for real, or metaphorically–only to find yourself exhausted.

Jesus gets it…

“Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” — Matthew 11:28-30 (MSG)

Rest, THEN get back on the trail.


https://davidsdailydose.org/2021/04/05/the-young-buck-on-baldy-mountain/

Categories
Christian Blog resilience

This Thorn

A recent post by CG Thelen, from 140 Character Christian, entitled Humbled by Pain spoke of Paul’s thorn in the flesh (2 Corinthians 12:7-10). “Thorns can come in all sorts of things that cause us constant pain,” wrote CG

These words brought to mind a godly woman who once lived in my little town. She was twice widowed and confined to a wheelchair, yet had the sweetest Christian spirit. Most days she never ventured outside her home. But friends and neighbors lined up to see her or called her on the phone. People flocked to this dear sister because she had the “peace that passes all understanding” (Philippians 4:7).

Each of us can probably think of a fellow believer who trusted God despite challenging circumstances. This leads one to ponder the unshakeable faith found in God’s holiest servants.

What’s the secret?

I never asked Mrs. Frieda, but she surely would have pointed me to passages such as Colossians 3:1-3, about the life that is “hidden with Christ in God.” Or Psalm 91:1, where David rested in the “shadow of the Almighty.”

One of another friend’s favorite quips is, “Opinions are like belly buttons. Everybody has one and they’re all different.” It’s the same with thorns. And like Paul, any experience that draws us closer to God is a good thing.

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” – 2 Corinthians 12:8 (NIV)

Another favorite blogger, who speaks in power by God’s grace, is Ruth Kirk, of Seeking God’s Face Together. Her daily poems (complete with related scriptures) are like signposts along the narrow road to heaven. Please read her offerings. They are a blessing!

By God’s grace may we say in our weakness, “Lord, thank you for this thorn.”


Photo by DAMIANUM CASTRUM on Pexels.com

Portions of this post appeared in It will Keep, which was published on July 13, 2019.

Categories
Hope resilience

Unwelcome News

It’s cancer.

You’re fired.

Killed in action.

These are words nobody wants to hear–EVER.

Yet there are times, “When Bad Things Happen to Good People,” as Rabbi Harold Kushner writes in his book by the same name.

Rabbi Kushner wrote this inspirational classic after his three year old son was diagnosed with a degenerative disease that meant the boy would only live into his teens. The book reveals the heart of a spiritual leader, father and vulnerable human being as he deals with one of life’s most burdensome questions: Why, God?

It’s a question we find in abundance throughout the Psalms of King David. Like a bookend on a shelf, such a heartfelt inquiry starts Psalm 10.

Why, O Lord do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?

Psalm 10:1

Have you ever felt this way? I have. And the question that kept coming to mind was, “Where are you God?” But there was no immediate A after the Q.

Maybe you’ve experienced or know someone who has experienced a similar situation.

  • They were supposed to get promoted, but are out of a job instead.
  • Retired to enjoy their golden years, but then their spouse got sick.
  • Had a marriage that wasn’t supposed to fail, but did.
  • Lost loved ones, seemingly before their time, to a terrible disease.

I don’t intend for this to be a totally downer post, but reality says even the strongest believer can lose hope.

This happened to the disciples during their last meal with Jesus, when he delivered the following unwelcome news: “Guys, I’m about to be killed in action.” He also said He’d come back to life again in three days, but they didn’t hear that part. The Lord lost them at KIA.

In a moment, an ordinary Passover became the Last Supper. “This is NOT how the story is supposed to go!” blurted Peter. But it was already happening. Palm Sunday was about to become Face-Palm Friday.

This feeling persisted even AFTER the resurrection. On the road to Emmaus, Jesus spoke with two followers who said, “We had trusted (past tense) that He was the one to deliver Israel.”

Has anyone else ever been in what seemed like a totally hopeless situation–groping in the dark for answers? I have.

Apparently, King David’s critics like to taunt him with the same question over and over: “Where is your God?” (Psalm 42:3,10) However, they missed something; it was still early in the game. And like Rosabeth Moss Kanter says,

Everything looks like failure in the middle.

Near the end of Psalm 10 there is another book end, and this one isn’t a doubt filled question:

But you, O God, do see trouble and grief; you consider it to take it in hand.

Psalm 10:14

God sees.

God knows.

Gods acts.

Now these are words that are welcome–ALWAYS!

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.

Psalm 46:1

Prayer:
Heavenly Father: Today, I choose to remember the dark seasons of my life, and to celebrate the fact that, even then and there, Jesus was all that I really needed. I praise you, God. For even though I was tempted to lose ALL hope, thanks to Your amazing grace I DID NOT!


Need help with resiliency? One of my go to sites is Don’t Lose Hope. It’s an online community focused on betrayal trauma, but addresses other life stressors as well. Please check it out!

Photo by Matthew Henry on Unsplash