Bucket List Hikes & Words from God

Yosemite Falls from Sentinel Dome, California
Yosemite Falls from Sentinel Dome, California

Do you have a so-called “bucket list” of hikes or destinations you want to visit?  It seems many of my hiking friends have a list (mental, on their electronic devices, or on apps like Pinterest) of places they want to travel.  For some, it’s the most recent cool picture they saw on Instagram.  Others make a list for the year and use it as a guideline to make sure they actually get out there and hike.  Still others use those bucket lists as a hopeful expectation that, someday, they’ll see these beautiful places for themselves.

The Grand Canyon near Toroweap Overlook, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
The Grand Canyon near Toroweap Overlook, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

I have a mental bucket list of hikes I’d like to do someday.  I’m in no particular rush to hike them, but if I ever find myself in the area, I know that I want to go places like the Muir Snowfield and Boroughs Mountain in Mt. Rainier National Park, hike to the bottom of the Grand Canyon on the South Kaibab Trail, climb Mt. Whitney, and explore certain trails in Canyonlands National Park, among other hikes.  For me, a bucket list of hikes and parks is a wish-list of maybe-someday adventures.

Mt. Whitney from the Alabama Hills Scenic Area, California
Mt. Whitney from the Alabama Hills Scenic Area, California

God sometimes speaks to us about our future.  He’ll give us hope: “Don’t worry; the right spouse is out there for you” or “You’re going to get through this thing and it’s going to be beautiful.”  He gives us things to work toward: “You’re going to be the senior pastor of a church” or “I’m going to give you favor so that you can influence actors and actresses.”  Sometimes the things He speaks to us seem wonderful: “I’ve always wanted to be a pastor!”  Other times they’re downright scary: “I think I like the idea of being in the movie industry, but how on earth am I going to do that!?!?”

Spooky Slot, formally in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah
Sometimes words from God look a bit like choke stones… you know where you are, you know what’s beyond the choke stone, but you have no idea how you’re going to get through! Spooky Slot, formally in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah

The great thing about these words from the Lord is that they give us hope.  Beyond the direct hopeful words (like “don’t worry; they’ll find Me soon”), the words spoken about our futures give us vision for the future (like “you’re going into the optical industry”).  They aren’t necessarily given outcomes; you can choose to go your own way.  Sometimes God lets you do that, other times He brings you around to His way of seeing things; for example, I have a friend whose parents were told before he was born that he would be a doctor… it took a bit, but he’s in medical school at this point.

While bucket lists are often mostly wishful thinking and words from God are a lot more than just ideas you like, they have something in common: They give you direction and hope.  A bucket list hike like climbing the highest peak in Colorado gives you direction (where you want to go on vacation this year) and hope (I know work is hard right now, but I also know that Mt. Elbert is coming!)  A word from God also gives you direction (God says I’m going to be a housewife of many kids, so maybe I should learn how to cook) and also give you hope (I’m going to have a great (if not always easy) future because it’s where God is leading me, and I know His plans are good).

Wildflowers on St. Paul Peak, Cabinet Mountains Wilderness, Montana
Wildflowers on St. Paul Peak, Cabinet Mountains Wilderness (which was on my bucket list for years), Montana

What has God been speaking to you about?  Have you seen the things He’s said come to pass?  Are you using them of weapons of direction and hope, or are you waiting around for them to come upon you?  I’m not asking you this to bring condemnation (far from it!), but I believe we would see the things God says to us come to be quicker if we are willing to hope for and even word toward what God has said.