"Christian Geography" by Terry Sheldon

I've been looking at a lot of maps lately. It's always been an interest of mine. My inner nerd comes out when the topic of exploration comes up in conversation, especially here in our beautiful Oregon playground. Yes I really do know where Wagontire Oregon is. Want to stump the master? Go ahead and try. Really.

My fixation lately has been on the Wallowas - 350,000 acres of glaciated valleys, granite peaks and sublime high lakes in Northeastern Oregon. As you read this, I should be pushing my fifty-something body and a backpack up relentless dusty inclines, and for what? The payoff is incredible, or so Google Images show.

For me, part of the fun is just the imagining, the planning - to a point, of course. Maps are a 2-D counterfeit of a 3-D reality. Good for figuring out where you want to go, or where you are once you're there. But they certainly don't capture the aesthetic romance, the emotion of the evening sun peaking over the ridge before it retires for the day, or the dainty loveliness of Indian Paintbrush.

And technical notes like shown distances and topographic lines cannot capture how hard a trail really is, or how your tired body will respond. Or the mood you'll be in at that moment when you've "hit the wall", exhausted and spent like the wadded up Cliff Bar wrapper in your pocket.

I find the same similarities to the Bible, and our assumptions about things we think we know "on paper", versus the times we actually go there. Something in our life pushes us from "volunteer" to "professional", to being forced to practice what has been preached.

Usually they are changes, or challenges anyway that come up. We are forced onto the path. It's our time to learn, to experience, to PROVE something. We want to go back to the security of "the map", where it feels good to just dream. But instead there's no turning back, and we have a job to do.

I am greatly anticipating my trip. But a small part of me is apprehensive. I am not a young man anymore, and the uncertainty of how I will do is a nagging thought. But I am sure God will be speaking to me along the way. For me, He typically speaks best to me, or rather, I LISTEN best, when I am in motion. Hiking is a metaphor for a number of things, and I'm sure we will have many great conversations.

So let's not just think about God and learn about Him. Let's walk with him. Everyday.