Have you ever questioned your worth. No, really, have you ever thought about your life and wondered, "Have I accomplished anything of value?" "Why am I here" kind of thoughts invade my head from time to time.
Lately, I have been wrestling with feelings of uncertainty. I analyze everything. Maybe that is my primary problem. Anyway, I went for a hike yesterday and 300 yards into the hike, I began to talk to God and seek answers to my questions. I pleaded with (sort of told) God to show me whether I am still called to ministry or is there some other task God has in mind for me. At one point, I considered a journey back into operating heavy equipment. Remembering the thrill of starting machinery in February at 0 degrees brought me back to my senses. I questioned my role as husband, father, and pastor. It was a pity party of 'biblical' proportion. As I walked I whined to God. It was good that someone had hiked the trail a few days earlier. I followed their footsteps. I didn't have to pay much attention to the trail blazes, just the old tracks. Nice!
I asked God to give me answers and I had in mind the kind of answers I wanted to receive. One would think by now that I would be a bit smarter than that. They would be wrong. As I walked, I enjoyed the beauty of creation. I was first cold then began to sweat. As the trail rose in elevation, I noted my shoes were good for keeping my feet warm but didn't offer much traction. Fail!
About 1.3 miles into the hike the trail took a striking turn for the worse. Stones covered under slippery snow were difficult to navigate and the trail became much steeper. Then, without a hint of warning, I lost the tracks I had been following. The worst possible mistake a novice hiker can commit is to lose their bearings. I began to follow a set of deer tracks. I slowed down, kept my cool, and kept the sun to my left as I continued on.
All I could think of was trying to get to the destination without the aid of the prescribed route. All this lostness created more tension into my hike. Still no audible voice of God came to answer my questions and address my pity party. Just like the Almighty to remain silent when I need direction! Eventually, I stumbled back onto the correct trail with the old set of tracks to follow.
I reached the destination and soaked in the beauty of an incredible vista! Then the reality of God's answers cascaded over me in a giant tidal wave.
In fact, as I descended the mountain, I began to list all the things I learned about myself (assets and idiosyncrasies) and gained new insights into God's character and nature. For the next few days, I'll share with you just a few of the things I learned in the silence of my walk in Greenwood Furnace yesterday. I'll offer you some of the same blessings that came to me when I became quiet enough to hear God's still small voice. Thanks be to God for Holy love, grace, and patience. It was a good "meeting on the mountain."