Updated: Feb 4, 2022
Yesterday I was hiking through the Blue Mountains. In Australia, we don’t really have mountains like so many other countries do and these Blue Mountains would probably be considered more like hills rather than mountains! But to us they are blue and they are the only mountains we have.
As I hiked, it was obvious that a lot of rain had fallen recently. Paths and steps had been washed away and all the creeks were flowing. Some of the paths that I’d walked previously were no longer accessible and others were in the process of being repaired. Two years ago a bush fire had also been through here and many trees were burned so badly that they were now dead. Life was growing all around these dead trees, but they served now as a reminder of the pain that had moved through these valleys not so long ago.
So here I was walking through a beautiful landscape that carried with it the pain of the past and also the evidence of the torrents of rain that had recently affected it. In the distance, on the far ridge, I could see the evidence of a massive landslide and the scar that this was to the whole valley. But again, this is the wild and it responds and reacts to the seasons and the effects of creation. To me, it carried a strange kind of wonder and beauty. It was too far away for me to walk to, but there was a part of me that wanted to get closer and see the magnitude of what had happened.
In these moments, it’s easy to get lost in my thoughts and my surroundings. Then all of a sudden I heard someone calling out to me. I was walking up the side of the valley and the voice seemed to be coming from the far side and I started looking for who was calling me and I found no one. Then the voice came again and said “I’m up here”. It was only when I received direction from the speaker that I realised where the speaker was. My own ears were thinking that it was coming from one direction when in reality it was coming from somewhere I couldn’t pick. The speaker was simply saying “Hi”. Nothing profound or in need, he was just saying “Hi” and in response I gave him a smile (that being so far away he couldn’t see) and a “Hi” back.
So this got me thinking…
My life was represented by the ground that I was walking through. There was a beautiful panorama, but there were also scars. Some of those scars could be seen from afar and some were right at my feet. None of the scars were hidden and all could be seen if a person was willing to look. Some of them can easily be seen from afar by those who are unwilling to walk with me. They can make all kinds of assumptions about my life as to why those scars are there. Some of those assumptions may be correct, but many would be just guessing at why this difficulty had come into my life. Why is it that many will assume the worst and not see the beauty of the healing?... Why is it that I will often do that of myself?... What if my scars served as a beautiful purpose of hope for others who are walking through their own valleys?... What if I decided to let others walk with me and let them share the pathway of healing that I’m taking?...
And then the voice came from above. He was simply saying “Hi”, but I couldn’t find the source of the voice. I needed direction and I needed to see the one who owned the voice. How often had I been hearing the voice of God but not listening long enough to find where the voice was coming from? How often have I needed direction? How often has He been willing to patiently give me that direction?
The older I get the more I am learning of the journey that God has me on. It is truly beautiful and yet truly challenging. Some days I can feel on top of the world and others I’m just crying out for this hike to get to its destination. How do I hold these things in balance? Why is it that everything within me longs and, at times, strives for comfort and for ease? What if I slowed down to notice more of the life that is blooming from the greatest scars and challenges of my life? What would I find?
I found that it takes great courage to ask the questions that lead to the answers that will challenge our comfort and our ease. Before I started this hike I knew that it would be hard. The weather was hot and humid and the track was wet and muddy. There are enough reasons here not to go for the hike. But if I didn’t I wouldn’t have seen what I saw or heard what was spoken. At the end of the walk, I was hot, tired, and spent… but I was also inspired. If you are sitting wondering about the journey and how hard it will be, then let me give you one word of advice… it is worth it.
For any of you that have spent any time with me, you've most probably seen my scars. For some of you, you have chosen to draw close to hear the story and walk in the restoration that Jesus has given to me. May my life continue to be a place of courage and vulnerability, where the story of restoration heals the stories pain. Life is upon you my friend.
Grace & peace,
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