Trusting God in the Wilderness

The skies clear over the Valley of Dreams, New Mexico

The skies clear over the Valley of Dreams, New Mexico

Another element of increasing our trust in God in the wilderness is the fact that there is so much outside of our control – the weather, the trail, wild animals, random hikers, and so on and so forth.  There are so many unknowns or semi-knowns when we go out into the wilderness.

Fairyland, Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

Fairyland, Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

Our trust grows as we do it; through our experience: I’m pretty sure I can hike an average 10 mile hike because I’ve done it.  I also know that I don’t really want to do a 20 mile hike in one day.

17 miles RT to the Cirque of Towers Overlook was plenty long, but it certainly was beautiful!

17 miles RT to the Cirque of Towers Overlook was plenty long, but it certainly was beautiful!

The same is true for our trust in God: when we have seen Him move on our behalf before, it’s much easier to trust Him again, either out in the wilderness or in our everyday lives.  If we are out hiking and things aren’t going well, but God whispers to my heart, “It’s going to be ok,” I can trust that it really is going to be ok, because I’ve seen Him do it so many times before.

Along the Lake Ann Trail, Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Washington

Along the Lake Ann Trail, Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Washington

The first time this happened, I was in my mid-teens and we were climbing Raspberry Mountain on the eastern edge of the Front Range in Colorado.  The trail was very snowy, and since we hadn’t expected snow, we were wearing sneakers.  Finally a couple of my group members and I went scouting.  One of them went back to the rest of the group to tell them that, yes, the trail really did go up the mountain, while the rest of us sat on a not-snowy rock with an incredible view out over snowy hills and yellow aspens.

Views from Raspberry Mountain, Colorado

Views from Raspberry Mountain, Colorado

Sitting on the rock, praying that we could finish this trail (it was so beautiful!), a song I couldn’t recall where I had heard before tickled through my brain: “It’s gonna be all right, it’s gonna be all ri-hi-hi-hi-right*.”  Sure enough, some of the group went back to the van to dry out their wet shoes, while the rest of us went up to the peak and saw a view I don’t think I’ll ever forget for sheer beauty: there’s nothing quite like Pike’s Peak and the surrounding high tableland swathed in snow and the gold of aspens in color.

Pike's Peak from Raspberry Mountain, Colorado

Pike’s Peak from Raspberry Mountain, Colorado

Other times, the Word of the Lord keeps us from doing things that would bring us into currently-unseen danger.  High on Mt. Starr, after a thunderstorm had blown through, one of my group members heard it loud and clear: “It’s time to go down.”

Our weatherman, checking out the clouds and listening to God, on Mt. Starr, Inyo National Forest, California

Our weatherman, checking out the clouds and listening to God, on Mt. Starr, Inyo National Forest, California

We’ve learned to trust these impressions from God.  They’ve kept us out of unknown trouble and brought us to beautiful places we never knew existed.

Wayside wildflowers in the Uinta Mountains of Utah

Wayside wildflowers on Bald Mountain in the Uinta Mountains of Utah

But sometimes there still comes a crisis of trust.  It’s a choice in a specific situation: am I going to trust what God has said, or am I going to be afraid?

Twisted trees on Mt. Shasta near Butte 9000, Shasta-Trinity National Forest, California

Twisted trees on Mt. Shasta near Butte 9000, Shasta-Trinity National Forest, California

Fear is the biggest killer of trust.  John said it in 1 John 4:18, “There is no fear in love… perfect love drives out fear.”  Love grows with time and experience with the person you love.  I have talked with many people who have been blessed with long, love-filled marriages, and all of them say that, while they were undoubtedly in love when they married, their love is so much deeper now – enriched with time with and experiences with their spouse.  Their trust has grown with their love.

Middle Falls in Barnes Creek Gully, Canandaigua, New York

Middle Falls in Barnes Creek Gully, Canandaigua, New York

It’s one very good reason to go out into the unknown wilds of our country: not so we can test God’s faithfulness with our own stupidity, but so that we can experience His faithfulness without the boarders of padding of our normal lives.  And in that experience, to learn greater trust in Him.

 

*“Stars” by David Crowder Band