Ever since I learned how to walk, I have loved being outside. When I was small, I loved collecting gravel and pretending it was treasure, or counting stars and giving names to new constellations. As I grew older, I found joy in a different kind of outdoors: in hiking endless trails and hunting down waterfalls with friends I soon would leave behind.
One of the cool parts of nature is how consistent it is. There is never a sunset like another, and mountain ranges change form while rivers change paths, but no matter how much change occurs, nature is still there. Thousands of years from now it will still be there, after many storms and obstacles. I have found this to be true for God.
No matter how many times our lives spiral out of control, how many times we are pushed to our knees and kicked around a few times, God remains. He is and always will be. Imagine Him like the moon: Even when you cannot see Him, He is there. Even when the skies are cloudy and grey, there is a God watching us and leading us exactly where we are intended to be.
There are always those few minutes in the middle of a hike when you do not think continuing is an option. It usually happens in a patch of dead trees and a path that does not seem to end, but the view at the end makes your sore calves worth it. When life is in one of these roughs patches, it is hard to see the bigger picture. We are often handed situations that seem overbearing, impossible even, but the God that paves the paths we walk gives them purpose. He gives us purpose. We were never called to be the same. The paths we walk are all unique, just as the people who walk them.
One great leader recently said, “God puts in us the ability to see ourselves in a different circumstance than the one we are in.” How encouraging is that? We are capable of being somewhere other than where are are. We, as human beings created by a loving God, are able to rely on his presence and have faith that the outcome is exactly where we are meant to be. We are capable of moving mountains and shaking grounds.
There is so much contentment in nature. There is something about being among skeleton like trees that make me feel so free. As I watch the waterfalls, I become them. They are humble, not demanding to be seen or heard. They do not let any obstacle disrupt their intentions. The moss on the rocks and pines under my boots are my closest friends.
As I stand in the middle of a barren forest, screaming at the universe to teach me my name, my voice is as little, as unheard, as the smallest bugs. I am nothing, and as nothing I become part of the creation around me.