I love to hike. The definition of hiking, according to dictionary.com, means "to walk or march a great distance, especially through rural areas, for pleasure, exercise, military training, or the like."
While visiting with family last weekend, a cousin told me I was crazy for enjoying hiking. She asked me what was the point of hiking since you don't actually go anywhere. A few days after that conversation, I went on a hike by myself. This hike didn't take me to the top of a mountain. Rather, it was an 8-mile loop through a variety of terrain, going down, then back up, then down, and ending with an incline. Because it's still early in the summer, everything is lush and green here, which will not last long. There were wildflowers starting to bloom. It was beautiful!
A few miles in, I thought about what she said and why I actually enjoy hiking. It's the feeling of peace and being surrounded by God's beauty. It's being able to hear the birds chirp, the squirrels scurrying in the leaves, and the river running. It's feeling the wind and smelling that wonderful pine scent. On hikes that lead you up a mountain, it's feeling like you're on top of the world and seeing sights that you can't from a car. It's a feeling of accomplishment when I finish. I don't understand how you cannot love it.
I've had some people tell me that nature is their "church." It's where they feel closest to God, and they talk to Him there. I agree that I feel God when I hike. When I hike alone, I use the time to think about things and talk to God. But that's not the only place where I feel and talk to God. I feel Him everywhere if I'm open to Him. I talk to him in the car, in the shower, at work, at church, in the woods ... everywhere!
I can't imagine living in Old Testament times where you had to go through a high priest to communicate with God. I'm thankful for the sacrifice of Jesus because it saves us from our sins, and it also allows us to communicate directly with Him wherever we are.
So, for your homework, I encourage you to go for a hike. Whether you create your own path or follow a well-worn trail through the woods, take in the scents and sounds. Use that time to get some exercise but also to communicate with God. I'd love to hear how it goes!
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.