Not everything that God does in and through us is easy to define. Out of reverence it is to be taken and weighed with great care, so as not to disrupt a process that is ongoing. Prayer is when we take matters to Him, in supplication for the Holy Spirit to deliver them as incense. I find that there are times when what God has done is so definitive, the afterglow so bright; the witness cannot help but to reveal a glimpse of His glory. And therefore what follows is given as a testimony.
As I parked the vehicle and prepared for a few hours of hiking my actions were typical. Close the windows, hide the belongings, secure all items out of sight and put up the window sunshades. A short note in the journal was written, giving thanks for the prayers of two who had given me over to God earlier in the week.
I found great confirmation in my spirit with such a holy ‘hand-over’; that others would give me to God in their personal prayers and devotions is very humbling. I too had given my very being over to Him. Why do we as ones who belong to Christ feel the need to constantly give ourselves over to Him?
The purpose is reasonable and elegant for if we refuse to give all that we are to Jesus, we tend to take it back piece by piece. It is far better to leave it all at the feet of Christ, our lives and our dreams, our success and our failures; all in His safe keeping.
Once on the trail it was up and into the woods. The forested canopy above greatly diminished the heat of the day and made the miles of ascent easily tolerable. It was a very warm afternoon and most people would wisely choose to stay poolside or in an air conditioned space, not bounding up a trail. However my purpose for hiking had little to do with comfort or finding a particular beauty spot to recline. No, the reason for the hike had to do with God stirring me out of my work and digging deep into my spirit. I was on this hike because my spirit was not well. God pulled me outside, into the vehicle, down the highway and onto a dirt path strewn with rocks, roots and pine needles. A small note pad and pencil were tucked into a pocket of my shorts on a hunch that they might be of use, as I typically would not bring such things. Water yes, notepad no.
So what happens when a man goes out into the woods with no one but God? Does he begin to see visions or strange glowing apparitions of angels? Some of the most vivid blogs on the Internet would have me believe if such things did NOT occur- that I am missing out on something. No, really the best part about going on a walk with God is how quiet He is. Then also in how He works in my spirit at the deepest core level without me getting in the way. Here is how God walked me:
To begin with I had been having some difficulty with the preceding days, and those issues were in my thoughts as the walk commenced. God prodded me to give it all away and to confess. In little time my knees hit dirt to pray, pausing over and over on the trail in supplication. At every stop a new line was written in the little notepad. They added up within an hour.
-take my fears, LORD.
-take my anger, LORD.
-take my bitterness, LORD.
-take it to Your feet.
-take my resentfulness, LORD.
There came a moment when these little lines all connected and God prompted my next prayer stop (and note):
-together…all of these elements are destructive, useless and cause division. But in Your hands they are consumed by Holy fire, rendered and re-purposed into His tool of choice.
-LORD God, please re-consume me, forge me anew in Your Holy fire. Make me an instrument of Your love. Refine my spirit in Your fire, set my soul on fire! I choose to be holy; set apart for You LORD.
The writing stopped and a period of quiet praise took over. The trail gained altitude until it coursed tightly under a basalt rock outcropping looking over the river and forest below. In time my feet reached the upper falls, a magnificent view of plunging water below. I ducked brush along the edge of the creek, carefully making my way upon the rocks midstream down to the very lip of the waterfall. It was beautiful and once more I knelt in prayer among the mossy rocks and sound of cascading waters.
“It’s just You and me here now”
I wrote in the little note pad, then placed it on a rock. I felt compelled to dab some of the cold water onto my face as an act of communion. The ‘nudge‘ came to remove my sandals and step into the pool at the top of the falls. I did, while rolling up my shorts to stay dry. It was quite brisk to say the least. God spoke into my being that THIS moment and place had become a cathedral, a temple unto itself. Again I reached my hands into the clear water, splashing my face while thanking God for His mercy. Yet while doing that splash He asked for me to yield completely, to give myself totally unto Him. My clothing was removed then placed on a rock near the edge of the falls. I stepped fully into the pool of water and began to pray with fervor.
“By the power of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit- please forgive me, wipe away all that I am and re-anoint me.”
A stream of sunlight was upon my face. In a place of great risk, God asked me to delve into the water- laying everything at His feet. Submission.
I have never felt remotely compelled in the least to remove all of my clothes, and yet it was required of me to be wholly clear and transparent. In the water.
God restored my being after washing the spiritual dirt off of me. The hike back to the vehicle was bliss, as he listened to my heart of praise and thanksgiving.
Go for a walk with God and one can never be quite certain where He will take you.