The Blue Ridge mountains beckoned. Home alone on a sunny autumn day in November didn’t seem right and my heart needed some time to consider things before the Lord. The little circular hiking trails on the side of local mountain were quick to reach, so I drove over and headed up the Hollow Trail to get access to a higher trail.
The trail started wide at the bottom where lots of people go. It got narrower as the trail steepened and moved up the mountainside. At one point at a rocky slide it was just a few inches across. So it is with a believer’s walk. To find the trail up, one needs to have a relationship with God, who says He is the way (John 14:6). At the start the path there are lots of people and the path is wide. They come in having been forgiven and saved but often have some baggage and things to get fixed. Lives are often sloppy, but God starts His work. On the way, many veer off the path as they get distracted by pleasures, riches and worries (Luke 8:14). They never reach the higher places. For those that don’t get distracted, the trail gets a little narrower as His loving exhortation and discipline continue but they accomplish much as they walk forward with their Lord. (Mark 10:29-30)
Half way in the trail I was among a stand of mature poplar trees with golden leaves, which were falling as the light breeze shook them loose from branches almost 100 feet above my head. They sank slowly, taking quite a while to reach ground, but they turn brown and disintegrate in just a few weeks. It reminded me that life is short and only goes in one direction. The process of decay occurs rather quickly, so chasing after temporary beauty of any type at the expense of taking the opportunity to know Him makes no sense at all. (Ecclesiastes 12)
Near the end of the trail there was a place where most of trees had shed their leaves. Leaves on the forest floor were all different colors and came from different trees, but they were all leaves. It occurred to me how silly it is that a little difference in color or ethnic background or financial status in people gives rise to strong prejudices and double standards. We don’t have time for such ridiculous things when life is short, especially considering that God made us in His image and treats us impartially. If Christ is in the heart, be impartial. (Genesis 1:27, James 2:1-7)
It was just an hour hike on a Sunday in the ‘forest church.’ I was reminded of a few things, but the outing gave me a chance to pray, praise, and learn. It was a good afternoon to give thanks.