God intentionally tests us through various forms of resistance or trials to establish our belief and integrity. Through the process we learn he is the One who sets the terms of discipleship, not us. When pushed, we might want to push back at God, but in his perfect wisdom he questions and stretches us in such a way that draws us nearer to him rather than causing us to run away.
Like the night I survived a terrifying lightning storm with my two other 12 year old friends at the base of Hawk Peak one summer, we often witness God’s goodness and power through being exposed to the wildness of his Creation. And if God chooses, he will usher us into an encounter with him through those wilderness experiences. The book of Job is overflowing with powerful outdoor ministry curriculum. It is about how one man encountered God face to face through the wildness of Creation.
I remember an epoch climb when from dawn til dark I climbed not one, but three peaks covering over 20 miles of hiking in one day. Now I’m always up for an adventure, but honestly, I am more of a wanderer in the wilderness rather than a driven alpinist. Well, by the end of the day I had had it…. Like a soaked sponge that gets squeezed, who we really are comes out when the pressure is on.
We shouldn’t be surprised by trials, we need to expect them…. And trials can be a catalyst for creativity and ingenuity. The wilderness is a perfect environment for ingenuity and improvisation to occur. When problems arise, natural leaders step up and start to unify the group and offer practical solutions.
Wilderness ministry can be a very effective tool to reveal that to be “weird” in the world’s eyes is actually “normal” in God’s eyes. How ironic.
The people in this story thought the man’s physical ailment was his biggest need, but Jesus did not agree—he saw his need for forgiveness of sins as a much greater need because it has such long-term consequences.
“In fourth century Egypt, many devout Christians were struggling to survive in a society that seemed to have an unbridled disregard for God. Like a house burning violently from within, the only choice many devout Christians felt they had was to run for their lives before being consumed by the culture. They ran to the […]
“Scrambling over rocks, zig-zagging between bear grass and some other clumpy desert ground cover, His feet testing each step to make sure it was solid… finally He reached the summit. Wind howling, and the storm sounding like the opening music to an eerie mystery movie, He sat quietly for what seemed like hours watching with eagle eye a small […]
Familiarity leads to complacency. God pushed Abraham out of his comfort zone and led him through wilderness experiences to make him more committed to mission (Gen. 12:1-3).