(Photo by Karl-Petter Akesson)
Being a mountain boy once again – after 12 years away – has awakened in me a deep appreciation for mountain views and experiences, both with dear family and friends as well as all by my lonesome. My wife and I are addicted, it’s true, to great experiences. So, this might be an over-statement to say we’re addicted. If we as believers are hooked on anything it’s knowing God and making Him known together as His kids, right? I’m planning a little backpack and car camping trip for the end of August with my son, Jackson, and if available a friend or two. Camping is such a reminder of the vulnerability we experience in life as Christians. I was reminded of this as I read in Isaiah 33 this morning, which got me all over the Bible. Verse 20 states:
“Behold Zion, the city of our appointed feasts! Your eyes will see Jerusalem, an untroubled habitation, an immovable tent, whose stakes will never be plucked up, nor will any of its cords be broken.”
Do we read this and just pass on by? How in the world can a tent be immovable? Let’s read the next verse:
“But there the LORD in majesty will be… (we have to notice this essence, God’s existing and being as our Refuge)… for us a place of broad rivers and streams, where no galley with oars can go, nor majestic ship can pass. FOr the LORD is our judge; the LORD is our lawgiver; the LORD is our King; He will save us… the people who dwell there will be forgiven their iniquity.”
In California, we love to boast about our adventuresome ways, our wild and brave hearts to experience life to its fullest with all her peaks and valleys. With God, we are slowed to realize that He is our tent. Look again at the image I’ve posted here.
Look at the stars above the man-made tent. What is man that You, LORD, are mindful of him? As we focus on our bellybuttons and get overwhelmed by our circumstances, God sustains our every membrane and keeps eternity and grace for our restless hearts, giving us Himself in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As we rest in an awareness of God’s sovereign grace, His holy sustaining of us and provision for our every real and eternal need, we become less fearful and more awe-struck by His songs of deliverance being sung over us.
Hike on, friends, into the great adventures God has given grace for you to have.
Explore the risks God may be opening doors for you to take.
Pack up your earthly tent with those God has given you to travel with, and begin the hike in this life of loving the lost and found with a reckless and relentless love. Get rid of some of the stuff and activities that are distracting you from connecting with people and showing the redemptive grace you’re experiencing. Let’s leap into His tent of awesome grace and forgiveness and show the hope we have in Christ through abandoned lives in His grace.
Let’s peal off the sinful patterns we are so prone to wear as attempts to find satisfaction. Only in Christ can we find true pleasure. And, in Him as we abide in His story of redemption, may we walk on together being vulnerable and honest and open about how desperately we need reminders of His presence through one another’s kindness and friendship. As we hike on together, setting up camp here and there in this life, may we encounter and show grace to hikers along the trail of life. May we hike along with them and share where we are hiking. We hike IN HIM and we hike TO HIM. He shows us where to go as we abide in Him already. As described in 2 Corinthians 5:1-10, we hike on in Him, weary and groaning at times for sure. We face trials and discouragement. It’s a pilgrimage for sure. Yet, as we have a holy discontentment with this life. We know where we will be either at the end of a long hike of life or at an abrupt end through our death or the LORD’s return.
We are all, all who trust in Christ alone, going HOME. Our city is a PERSON ultimately. We are bound for Heaven, and all we need to know about Heaven is that our Savior, the actual physical presence of Jesus Christ, is there with open arms.
“For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and He died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for Him Who for their sake died and was raised.”