Tuesday, January 31, 2012

"On a hill like this..."

"I need the Lord to help me!"  He kept singing it over and over.  HE needs the Lord to help HIM? There he stood looking nice and comfortable at the top of that hill with a walking stick.

There I was at 18 as a West Point new cadet trying to get up that hill.  All 120 pounds of me carrying a full ruck, in BDUs with sleeves down in the middle of summer, a big ol' heavy Kevlar on my head, and an M16 in my hands.  What did he have?  A walking stick!!!  Why o' why would HE need the Lord to help HIM?

♪ "On a hill like this I need the Lord to help me!" 

You know those certain moments in your life that will always stay in your mind no matter how long you live, and you really have no idea why? This was one of those. Perhaps it was because I was exhausted. Perhaps it was because his singing and high perch made me mad. Perhaps it was because he seemed a little pompous, and I felt like falling over. He was an Army chaplain, and to be honest, I really wanted to push him down that hill. More than that, though, I wanted to be done with that 14 mile road march. 

From that time forward, every time I saw that chaplain, there it was playing in my mind...
♪ "On a hill like this I need the Lord to help me!" 
Those feelings came right along with it. 

The women's lacrosse team was once invited to dinner at his house with his family and then to a small Bible study.  I still remember struggling with not wanting to be there. 

A few days ago, I headed out for a hill workout. Hill workouts are pretty amazing in that they increase endurance on both a physical and mental level a great deal. They make the runs that come after seem easy. I have to admit I was not feeling like running up that almost half mile long hill 3 times. During my 1 mile warm up, it dawned on me that instead of fighting my way up that hill as I always do, I should try handing that hill over to God before I started on my way up. Would this change anything? Would it be exactly the same as last time and the time before?

I turned for my first attempt up the hill...
"God, I hand this hill over to you. You created it. You conquered it. Jesus conquered death." As I ran up it, I just kept handing it over.

My second attempt up the hill was exactly the same, and I managed to run up the entire hill a second time. In the past, I had always needed to walk during my second ascent.

It was time for the third ascent, and I thought that running up that hill a 3rd time without walking was a pretty big deal since I had never managed it. Half way up, I felt complete exhilaration. I was actually running up that thing and grinning from ear to ear.  And then I heard it...

♪ "On a hill like this I need the Lord to help me!" 

Ha! I realized that it took me many years to arrive at a place where I could fully understand the message. That time was last week. That place was running up a big hill. Many moons ago I was exhausted, frustrated, and angry on my way up a hill; God was there. When I focus on God and ask him for help, his joy is always available... even when the path leads me straight uphill.

Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again - rejoice! Philippians 4:4

Friday, January 20, 2012

Choose Your Own Adventure: Peru

As you continue to walk, you come upon ancient ruins. The undulating trail begins to ascend. To your left you see a donkey along the trail.

What do you do?
Continue to walk 
Try to catch the donkey

As you walk up to the donkey, you notice there is a bag on the ground. The bag contains two maps. One map says Inca Trail, is 28 miles in length, and goes through the heart of the ruins. The other map says Lares Trail, is 21 miles in length and goes off of the beaten path.

Which trail do you take?
The 28 Mile Inca Trail
The 21 Mile Lares Trail

End of the Trail: Machu Picchu...

After four days on the trail, you board a plane to the Amazon Rainforest basin. Surrounded by wildlife, you travel by canoe deep into the jungle...

Spring 2012.