He who forms the mountains,
who creates the wind,
and who reveals his thoughts to mankind,
who turns dawn to darkness,
and treads on the heights of the earth—
the Lord God Almighty is his name.
Partnering with members of a local church, I had the opportunity to help run an outdoor camp in Sedona, AZ. Sedona is rich with people searching for ways to tap into the earth’s spiritual energy, and with its many psychics, vortexes, and crystal shops it attracts countless pilgrims seeking the blessings of the earth’s natural frequencies. A spiritual longing is in the hearts of all mankind, though few follow the truth. In Ecclesiastes, Solomon says that God has placed eternity in our hearts; we all search for something to satisfy that desire. For the many spiritual travelers that explore Sedona, worship is given to the creation, and the Creator is ignored. For our group of 23 Apache youth, this was going to be a time of discovering the God of the Bible, the Creator of the mesas and spires that many look to for answers.
Throughout our time in Sedona, our group was able hike several of the trails spider-webbing the area, explore Palatki ruins, and cliff jump at Grasshopper Point. I was in charge of the teachings for the four days and used the limited time to explain our Creator’s mission of love and relationship to the group. Kicking it all off, I told some of my personal story of how God has purposefully pursued me throughout my life and led me to where I am at now. I discussed the original sin in the Garden, how we chose to replace our Creator’s leadership with our own judgement. Later, surrounded by towering red cliffs, I told the parables of the lost coin and the prodigal son, how God is searching for us and longing for us to come home to Him.
When I have a chance to hike with kids, I try to use my surroundings as a way to illustrate the Gospel message. Filtering water from a muddy, spring fed stream, I used my Life Straw filter to illustrate the power of Jesus. As with that filter, all dirt and junk is removed, and anything that passes through Him is made clean and good. I emphasized that, as with Jesus, just knowing that the filter can remove the dirt and make the water safe to drink won’t help you. You have to put complete trust in the Life Straw and use it, exhibiting your faith that it will make the water clean. Jesus is the only one who can make our spirits clean; He will remove the dirt and junk. We have to fully trust in him to make us pure; we are incapable of purifying ourselves. God was able to use me to share His words with those kids. By God’s grace, a girl was moved to accept Jesus’ calling to start the relationship with Him.
Multitudes of lost people settle to worship a fraction of what they were created for. Nature enthusiasts, natural scientists, and cultures traditionally tied to the land choose often times to connect with the mountain, forests, and streams and never see past to the Creator who made it all. The beautiful wilderness of the world, though beautiful and majestic, only point to a fraction of the power and glory of their Creator.