I just got back from backpacking almost 50 miles on the John Muir Trail – from Mammoth to Florence Lake. When I am out on the trail – even though it is really hard hiking – my mind clears up and God gives me a lot of insights. Below are some of my thoughts from the trail. I will share some more next week.
- We found my knife that I lost last year, we started at the correct trailhead, and I am in better shape than last year. Overall, this is a much stronger start. There is lots of snow, and we helped some people pass a snow hole at Duck Lake. I realized that I will probably not take this trip again; I will not make this hike again; I will never see these places again on this side of eternity. I am so thankful for this trip.
- Devotion – Proverbs 21 and focusing on not giving too much advice. I had just been asking the Lord what I could be self-reflecting about, and He answered through His word. I give advice because I want to help, even though I know a question usually helps more.
- I love being on this trail with Ben. Yesterday we got to talk about games, girls, and God. This is an amazing time with my son, and I love it so much.
- As the day went on and Ben got tired, we hiked two sections where I went ahead. We were basically hiking alone. It finally hit me – this is not the purpose of this hike. Even if we have silence or headphones on, I want to hike with my son. We will never have to walk alone. I don’t want to finish the miles; I want to fully experience this trail.
- Reflection requires intentionality. I went 3 days in Tahoe so tired that I did almost none. I want to make sure I am thinking deeply, breathing in the Spirit deeply, and returning home more deeply aware. As the trail continued – even with the rain – I have been able to reflect and think deeply about God, where I am at in life, and where I am going.
- Devotion – Proverbs 22, we are responsible for our own choices. I am not responsible for the choices of my kids, but I am responsible for pointing them in the right direction as a parent. I can’t control what others do, but I can control being a leader and having an influence in their lives. I made a choice to come on this trail, and I am experiencing the pain and the joys of that decision. Lord, give me the wisdom to try not to control others, but to focus most on my choices and be closer to You.
- There is a lot of snow, and yesterday – before we could cross a pass at almost 11,000 feet – we had to sit in shelter for 90 min to wait out a thunderstorm and lots of rain. When it came time to cross the pass, in lots of snow, it was helpful to see the tracks of those who had gone before. We could always choose to pick a slightly different way, but it was so helpful to have these footsteps to follow.
- I love this time with Ben, hearing how his thoughts have matured, but also how he is still a young man with lots of room to grow. I am soaking up every one of these moments.
- Devotion – Proverbs 23. I can’t live for food, and I sometimes do – lacking self-control of my sweet tooth and using food to cope or motivate. On the trail, I can’t ignore food and be so goal oriented. This chapter also talked about generosity, and I need to make sure that my goal to finish or get in the miles don’t overrule my time with Jesus or my son.
- Prayer is so powerful. In the thunderstorm, I was praying over and over for the storm to pass. The prayer was answered, whether by miracle or normal weather pattern. When we started walking again, the rain had passed but thunder was still heard in the sky. Yet the sky was clearing on the horizon, and we choose to walk on.
- Later this same day, we had a dangerous river crossing. Even worse, it was in the dark and with headlamps only. On both sides was a 10 foot wide gushing waterfall. The rocks were wet and I almost lost my footing twice. It was very scary. It was also very foolish. God spared me. I spent the next 15 minutes thanking Him over and over. When we came to the next river crossing, we wisely chose to make camp and call it a night.
I will share more thoughts from the trail next week. Keep on walking with Christ dear friends!