I mentioned yesterday that I spent most of last weekend under a tree about 100 yards off of the Ozark Highlands Trail in Arkansas. The purpose was to spend time with the Lord in His Word. I have done this before, in the Buffalo Wilderness and in Great Smokey Mountain National Park. I have also done this in hotels, motels, and cabins, most recently before this weekend at a converted Benedictine retreat, mostly by myself but on occasion with another man who is also in the battle. These are rich refreshing times. The format is not set in stone there is definitely time in the Word, prayer, and extensive journaling; sometimes I have a book or two with me that I want to read.
This last weekend I felt rushed. I typically schedule these for at least four days; but schedule constraints meant I could not leave until after 10 AM on Saturday and I had to be back to set up for this morning’s workshop by late morning on Monday.
After I set up my camp on Saturday, I began to journal, read the Word, and pray – it was not working. It was odd. I love the wilderness. The setting helps me worship the majesty of God better than any church or cathedral. It is His handiwork. But I felt disconnected. It was discouraging. I went to bed, bag really, early, slept late, tried again the next morning, still nothing. Considered striking camp and heading home.
I had brought a book with me. As an afterthought I picked it up and read a few pages. Things broke loose. The author was writing about fighting some of the same battles in which I have been engaged. I was if we were in dialog about the issues. I found myself reading a few pages, putting the book down, picking up my journal and responding, and that action driving me to the Word for a time to work through a thought or idea, and then back to the book. I read through about 75% of the 175 pages of the book before the weekend was done.
I do not personally know the author. There is little chance we will ever meet. I am grateful for his joining me on this short trek on the OHT. His fellowship, passion, struggle, and perspective on issues with which I have been struggling, helped me break through to a rich time with the Lord. That should be the impact we have on one another as believers and actually all of the people with whom we come in contact. Isaiah 33:13 says it well whether someone is far away or near, our engagement moves them closer to Christ.