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
acceptance Christian Living

Waking Up to the Way Things Are

Can you relate? It’s a typical day, until something triggers an uncomfortable memory from the past. Like it or not, you spend the next few minutes reviewing a negative highlight reel from one of your worst moments.

Why does this happen?

Here’s one explanation: most people’s thoughts trend negative. According to a March 2020 TEDx talk by Frederick Imbo, of the 50,000 daily thoughts a typical person processes, only 10,000 are positive. That’s just 20%!

Stats like this make me want to eat a whole quart of expensive ice cream straight out of the bucket.

The guy who wrote the Old Testament book of Lamentations sure knew the feeling. Most Bible scholars think it was the prophet Jeremiah. He was an eyewitness to God’s judgment of Jerusalem in 586 B.C.

There’s plenty to lament, with your city reduced to rubble and your means of worship taken away. Oh, and grab another quart of Häagen-Dazs for the highway, because ALL of Judah is being exiled to Babylon.

Jeremiah understood this was divine retribution–plain and simple. God brought down the hammer Himself, due to Israel’s flagrant rebellion.

So What’s Next?

The stoic philosophers, who came along two centuries later, said to accept reality without complaint. “Suck it up, buttercup.”

Don’t call me buttercup.

Thankfully, the prophet doesn’t respond this way. First, he dwells on the bitterness of the past–watches the negative highlight reel. This is a BIG downer (Lamentations 3:19-20).

But then he brings something else to the front of his mind. Something that gives him HOPE for the future.

“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.” – Lamentations 3:22-23 (NIV)

Now we’re talkin’!

“Accept reality, but focus on the solution.”

Jocko Willink

And for Jeremiah the solution is a no brainer: “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him.” – Lamentations 3:24 (NIV)

Have you noticed the only difference between the words victim and victor? Two letters. And the Good Lord can turn them better than Vanna White on Wheel of Fortune!

Amen! Do I have a witness?

“For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.” – 1 John 5:4 (NIV)


Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Categories
Christian Living encouragement

Life Parade

I live in a small farming town in Southwest Oklahoma. There are 800 souls, one convenience store and a corner cafe. We have a few other businesses, including a new Dollar General (woo-hoo!), but you get the picture.

One of the biggest events in our town is the annual Christmas parade. There are custom made floats, tractors, antique cars and plenty of horses.

But lots of folks on horse back means plops on the parade route. (If you know what I mean.) And no matter how great the festivities, it’s hard to ignore the manure trailing down the middle of main street. This line of “used oats” is often in the camera shot of our local TV news coverage, much to our mayor’s chagrin.

But—like with most things—the good outweighs the bad. The Christmas parade provides a splendid opportunity for our whole community to come together. In the big picture, who minds a little manure?


Job was a guy in the Bible who had a lot more good in his life than bad. Until he didn’t. You know the story. He lost almost everything overnight: his livestock and crops, even his children. GONE. All he had left was his life, a pessimistic wife and a few ‘friends’ who came to cross examine him.

Yet what did Job say when he learned of his losses? “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” (Job 1:21b -NIV) And what did he tell his wife when she told him he should, “Curse God and die?” He replied, “Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” (Job 2:10 NIV)

As the old saying goes, “Into every life some plops must drop.” Okay, maybe I changed that up a little.🥸 Yet in this matter, many Christians today aren’t interested in learning the patience and wisdom of Job. We like our roses without thorns, thank you. But what if the best way to get there is to turn those thorns INTO roses?

One of my favorite “thorns to roses” moments in the Bible occurs in Jeremiah 29. God sends a letter (via Jeremiah) to the exiled Israelites living in Babylon. In a nutshell, He says: “I sent you to Babylon, but I want you to prosper there. Build houses, and plant gardens. Marry and have sons and daughters.”

In other words, make the good outweigh the bad. Here’s my favorite part:

“Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” (Jeremiah 29:7 NIV)”

So, brave reader, whatever our “parade” is—yours and mine—we’d best pray to the Lord for it. Because if it prospers, so will we. And when there’s more good than bad, nobody minds a little manure.

But watch your step if you cross Main street.


Photo by picjumbo.com on Pexels.com