I spent several hours walking through a forest last weekend. Over many large branches, sticks, and through a river I trudged without boots on. Whether that was a good idea or not, I am still not so sure, but what I do know is that it was all worth it.
Psalm 23 was the theme of the retreat I was about to go on and I honestly was not so sure of what to expect. When I showed up I was given a sweatshirt with a saying I was very perplexed by “GODISNOWHERE.” I was like well, if that is what we are going to be focusing on too, then I am not sure I am at the right retreat. And the drive seemed to be the same way. We were driving for about an hour and a half through an intense snowstorm, you know the ones when you are driving about 40 mph or less on the highway. The highways were so hard to drive on and there were a good number of vehicles that had rolled off the road. With that it made me think seriously like what are we doing right now. This is insane. We are driving through this huge storm and everything around us seems to be going astray. But we kept going. We kept pressing on and eventually made it to where we needed to be without a problem except the weather.
There was a reason why God made sure we were safe on those roads. He had a plan for getting us there. Even though many of us were wondering how and why we were still going, He stayed constant and firm in His plans. And that could not have been proven more true to us over the course of those three days.
One thing my friend and I did one day was go on this hike through the forest, and we covered a lot of the camp grounds there. As a we walked under snowy trees, and saw the echo of nature’s beauty I could not help but remember something a friend said in a talk once, “God made everything for you even if you never get to see it.” I pointed that out to my friend as the two of us realized we were now in this huge open space. This huge open space, I had never seen covered in snow the way it was. It was an absolutely breathtaking sight. I can not even try to explain it to you. And that is the thing. You could have tried to take a picture of it, but there are not enough colors in a lense to make out the right look. You could have tried to paint the sight, but not even a brush stroke could compare. It is impossible to capture the full beauty of anything through a photograph. And that moment right then and there was a perfect example because if I had my phone I could have taken a picture. But I did not have my phone, and if I did I probably would have taken a picture. Instead, I chose to take it all in. The peace of His beauty and presence was so incredibly evident through the environment all around me. And that right there, is something you cannot capture. You have just got to experience it.
Now that I think of it though, seeing something first-hand when you can really take something in and fully appreciate it is so much better. I can see it in my mind even now. I do not need a photo to show the sight I saw. I do not need a photo to show you His beauty. Why? Because His beauty is surrounding us constantly. The beauty of the King is shown through even the simplest things in our day we might not even realize. The realization comes more naturally to us though depending on the openness of our hearts to Him. We can think that “God is no where” or that “God is now here.” That difference is all through whether we make space in our life for Him or not. When we do make this space, He reveals things we never even saw before because we were so caught up in the world. We were so caught up in this world He created that we forgot to take time to be with the One who made world. The time we set aside to be with Him can change our life, but only if we make it a habit and want to work at it.
Just as Jason Evert said, “God wants to reveal Himself to you, so that He can reveal Himself through you. He wants to send you out to be bold, to be prophets.” The way He is revealed is to us is through us spending time with and wanting to draw nearer to Him. And in those moments we cannot forget to just throw out all of our intentions without listening. Prayer is ⅓ talking and ⅔ listening, so we must take the time to listen to what He has to say to us. We can sit there and go on and on about what we want, but do we know what He wants of us? We need to just sit there in His presence and peace waiting. Not waiting for a miracle to appear in front of our eyes, or for Him to appear, but for His voice. For whatever thing He puts on your heart at that specific moment in time. When we take this time it can truly transform us and then we can go out and spread this news and glory of God. I know that for me, it is very hard to be bold sometimes. In a world were tons of people will criticize you for the smallest things, you wonder what they would say to you if you were to share your faith so freely. Even in schools too when someone rudely questions you about why you are going to mass or why you went to that conference. Whatever it may be, it is tough. Do not get me wrong on that. Many times I fear what this person will do if I say or do that, but the truth of the matter is that it does not matter what they think. If we are doing things to ultimately glorify Him, then why would we care what someone thinks if it is all for Him. We should not be ashamed to share that.
I feel like we as human beings are so quick to think of what others think, but that only thing that truly matters in the end is what He thinks. In saying, we can be the ones to start the spark. We can go out and be bold prophets of His mighty word for His name’s sake. I mean we have got one life to live. In fact, it is not even our life. It is a life that was granted to us by the Father. So in return, we need to give Him all we have and give Him everything we have got. To glorify Him through every single action. Just think of how many lives and hearts you could change if you were to share the message of His glory and presence with one person. Now what about two? This does not have to be some big crazy thing because it starts small. You do not have to go to the highest mountain top and scream bible verses to those down below (although that may be pretty cool. I am not saying you cannot do that).
I mean if we are upset by the ways of this world or are not satisfied with the environment around us, why don’t we work at trying to change that. We can sit here and wait for something to change, but what if we are the ones who are supposed to make it the change. We will never know if we just sit around and wait. We are called to go out and be fishers of men. So I encourage you along with me to go out and share the news with someone you think needs His saving powers. The love of our Lord is so deep for everyone that we cannot even begin to explain it. Start small with these acts. You do not have to go all out at first, but instead build up the Kingdom slowly. Sure I am scared to be bold a lot of the time. And just know you are not alone in that. Ask God to give you the strength to go out and share His word.
Just as I was at the beginning of the retreat so unsure of what I was going into, I left with a fire that was sparked through something I found to be impossible. And in that the beauty of His presence is captured through our actions of praise, joy, triumphs, and trials. It is a real thing that everyone can experience if they open their hearts and minds to learning more and growing in Him. So let us work together as brothers and sisters in Christ to fulfil the mission He gave us, and set a fire to change the world. It is not enough to take what we have learned and keep it to ourselves… we have got to spread it.