One of my favorite places to go for a nearby nature fix is Mt. Pisgah. Many different trails are available, most of which end up at the summit where one’s exertions are rewarded with a nearly 360° panoramic view of the local cities, farms, rivers and mountains. The nice thing about multiple trails is that it gives me options. When I want to have a hard, up and back workout, I choose the main trail. When I want a less strenuous hike and have more time, I take another. When I want a more solitary hike, there are a couple of other places that I like to go.
It’s a good thing to have experience with each of these trails. That way, when the weather has been very wet, I know first-hand which trails will be impassable. If it is hot, I know which trails will offer the best breeze or most shade; when it is cold, I know where the most sheltered areas are; and when poison oak is in season, I know which trails to avoid!
So our recent exploration of “Spiritual Disciplines” only makes good sense to me. Experience with various practices and habits that carve pathways for intimacy with God in the good times, will prepare me for those times of adversity when one or more of the paths may be blocked or inaccessible. Psalm 84:5-7 (MSG) seems to agree:
And how blessed [are] all those in whom you live,
whose lives become roads you travel;
They wind through lonesome valleys, come upon brooks,
discover cool springs and pools brimming with rain!
God-traveled, these roads curve up the mountain, and
at the last turn—Zion! God in full view!
Opening the trails for God to travel in our lives requires some exertion on our part. We have to get off the couch and move. But the Holy Spirit is an extraordinary tour guide, delighted to meet us along the way, to show us new trails and to lead us to the very best views!