Down low, mid May arrives
aspen buds burst into leaves of soft, shimmering green
a green that softens the harsh winter white and gray
creekside trails beckon travelers
wide and clear
almost a Sierra highway
as eager fishermen compete for four feet of creek space
Up high, early April survives
aspen buds yield just a hint of the green that May will bring
the promise of a spring yet unsprung
faint trails, some almost nonexistent
make sightings of fellow fishermen as rare as the open space below
Up high feeds my soul
like down low could never dream
Even when loving people, I need relief from them. Even when loving the comforts of civilization, like warm showers and soft beds, I need the relief of more primitive living. Even when loving the ease of modern life, I need the relief of challenge. Of going up high. Of going beyond beaten paths.
Two points. At least, that’s the plan right now. First, to fully follow Christ, to best be the person God created us to be, we need a holy dissatisfaction with the status quo. A college prof, decades ago, defined that Latin term as “the mess we’re now in
Paul knew that: “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him” (Philippians 3:10). Ah, to dream the impossible dream, right? But he also knew he hadn’t made it: “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on” (verse 12).
Knowing who God was, knowing who Jesus was, knowing who he was, gave Paul a keen awareness not only that he hadn’t been formed enough, but that he needed to press on, to strain toward greater Christlikeness.
But. Inertia impacts spiritual formation. A body at rest tends to remain at rest, until acted upon by an outside force.
Second, we’re all like that—needing some external force to push us out of our comfort zone and into God’s high country. God should be that force, but I’ve found he often uses external aids.
Rock Creek, tumbling down an eastern Sierra canyon, does that for me. If another fisherman is spotted, I move up higher. The brush that I have to push through gets thicker. Fewer holes can be found. But I see God’s grandeur and less of man’s creation. Rock Creek humbles me even as I grasp God’s love that provides all this beauty for us people. I re-center. The greater difficulty of up high pushes me into God’s arms. I like that.
So, I go up high.
Kick Starting the Discussion
How satisfied are you with your spiritual connection with God right now? How satisfied do you suppose he might be? Do you have a Rock Creek, something that reminds you of your need to grow and connects you more tightly with God? If not, why not? What do you do to feed your soul? Is it regular enough? How can you press on toward knowing Jesus more?