As promised, I wanted to share a meaningful lesson learned during my recent trip to Yosemite National Park as part of the Yosemite Summit. This was my
fourth time being in Yosemite and its majesty doesn’t get lost in the fourth time of being there for sure. It has been six years since the first trip to Yosemite and during that first trip I had some major spiritual breakthroughs.
We were doing a solitude hike around Mirror Lake, which is not really much of a lake anymore but it still was a beautiful hike. It was during that hike that God really broke through my heart and caused me to look deep into it. It was not easy to do and when God starts doing his spiritual surgery it requires one to just lay on the table and let the master physician do his work.
While walking along the trail I began to notice a grove of trees that were very close to the edge of the river that flowed down through the valley. But it was something about those trees that haunted my spirit. It was an image, a visual object lesson, of me and my heart. Oh how it hurt to realize that while
I was walking so close to the river, I had not really been “in” the river. I had not gained the life that the river produces or feeds. I was dead, just like those trees. I stood next to the “river of life” and yet had allowed myself to become so enraptured with the issues of life, ministry, church conflict, etc. to kill off the life that God has desired for me to live.
I reached the a half way bridge to cross over and begin the return trip but couldn’t cross, until I had spent some time with the physician and allowed him to cut away those things that I had been carrying with me. Hebrews 12:1b ” let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” I new I needed to throw off the things I’d been carrying and would be allowed to cross the bridge until I had.
I spent some time in prayer and confession and finally felt the release to cross over. As I did, I found the joy returning to my heart! My eyes were open and my lips full of praise. I began to almost skip down the trail enjoying the new freedom from releasing all that I had been carrying. It was then I began to again realize that there was another object lesson the Father wanted me to see. I began to look around and realize that again the trees on this new side of the river were totally different. Everything was lush and green and totally the opposite of the death that sat on the other side. Here was a trail of life and wow was it amazing! I’ve never seen such bright green and such beautiful flowers and trees. I wanted to stay on this side, and so did the Father. This is what he created me to be. Alive in Him! To live in Him!
So… 5 Years Later!
I found myself longing to get back to that place again. Not because I was “dead” again but because I was so engrossed with my time with Jesus that I never took a single picture of that area. I wanted to show others my object lesson from the Creator, but couldn’t. During my other trips to Yosemite we hiked other trails and then there was a rock slide that closed the trail for a few years.
Finally, this year, I had time and opportunity to head back and so I chose to “hike in reverse.” It was during this time the Creator was again teaching his class and I was thrilled to be his student. As I hiked I could see the lush green trees and foliage, it was as beautiful as ever! Across the river through the dense brush I made out the tops of some dead trees and thought, “ah yes, I’m back and now to capture the pictures.” But God again had other plans.
As I crossed the halfway bridge and began my hike back, I was stopped in my tracks, where were the dead trees? Everywhere I looked there was not death, but New life! Brand new trees, new foliage and growth. It was as bright and green as the other side. I was stunned to almost hear the Father say, “see, I don’t stay where there is death, I have overcome it! I make old things new! I moved you from death to life and I have renewed you for a unique purpose!” Tears flowed freely as I began to feel God’s love all around me! I had survived some really hard things, I had seen the underside of the “church” and moved on. I had made it through for a reason and it was becoming clearer.
If I had not hiked in reverse, I might never have seen the new life, the way I did. Yes, there were still some dead trees and like life, painful things never fully go away, but God helps them fade into the background so we can focus on the new things he has made for us to become.
Maybe it’s not a bad idea to revisit some things in life and release them to the creator so he can show you some new things.
The Holy Bible: New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1984), Heb 12:1.