Sunday, September 15, 2013

Another Adventurous Hike with the Lord

 Tuna Canyon Hike Malibu

Hiking has been some of my best times with the Lord in these last few years. Its a place that I can get away from distractions, be in nature, be moving, and be with the Lord. As much as I enjoy hiking with other people, I receive so much more hiking by myself. After coming off a hard week this week, I was sensing that I needed a hike just with Jesus. I found this hike that had a labyrinth on top of a hill. I was really excited because I LOVE labyrinths and have had some of my most spiritually significant moments inside a prayer labyrinth. The websites did not have very clear directions on how to get to this hike and how to follow it. I found the trail head ok. I had been praying on my way up that God would provide other people on this hike to help me find the labyrinth. Within a few minutes someone was walking down and I asked him how to get to the labyrinth. He said to just keep going straight up and that the road would dead end at this labyrinth. Sounds easy enough. Somehow I took a wrong turn somewhere. I was following this one trail up to the top of this point overlooking the ocean. The path did dead end but not at a labyrinth. I was very disappointed. The hike itself was not that scenic and seemed anticlimactic to not get to the labyrinth at the end. As I was going back down I saw it in the distance. Yes, thank you Lord! I went back up and tried to follow another trail but it did not seem to be leading in that direction. They I went back out to try to find another way in. I was getting very frustrated at this point as there seemed to be no way in. I went back down trails I had already been hoping to see some turn off that I had missed. Finally knowing that I was close I just pushed my way through the bushes. One way or another I was getting to this labyrinth. I finally got there. Yes Lord, I persevered and made it. The moment was short lived. Although there were some rocks in a design they were not in the shape of a labyrinth. I looked around and literally saw no trail that led this place. I remembered what the man had told me and the pictures I had seem online of the labyrinth and concluded that this is what I had been looking for.

 The place I thought was the labyrinth

Now I was extremely disappointing. I had tried so hard to get here, pushed through the bushes, sure this where the Lord was leading me only to find out that it wasn't. As joyful as I was to start of the hike, I was now very depressed at having not found my goal. I had been hiking for about an hour and half at this point and already feeling tired and could feel my white skin starting to bake under the intensifying sun. As I hiked back out I vented my frustration to the Lord. Then I came to a major junction where it looked like I could have taken the wrong path initially. Ahead was a steep incline. I was already tired, didn't know if this trail was the one I needed, didn't know how far up it went, and there were no people around to ask. One of the joys of going hiking by myself is that I decide everywhere I go. When it comes to hiking I am not quick to give up on trying to find what I want. I started up the hill unsure of how long I would need to go. I talked to the Lord as I hiked. "Lord, we could have this great moment today. We could have this crazy hike where I went forever looking this labyrinth, thought I found it, but didn't but then in the end saw your victory as you led me to it. Or Lord, we could have a really disappointing day, where I tried so hard but never found it. Come on Lord, don't you want to have that great moment with me? Don't you want me to have this great testimony?" I tried to prepare myself that the Lord was still good even if I didn't find it. But it was hard because I was tired and had been hiking for so long. I can to this big circular area where it looked like a labyrinth could have been. I really hoped it had not been taken away or destroyed by a storm.

 A great view from the top

A nice place to sit in the shade at the top of the hike

 I hiked just a little further and saw it. I immediately started to sing, "Hallelujah, thank you Jesus, Lord your worthy of all the glory, all the honor and all the praise." I felt the victory of the Lord.

 Very excited to have found it

Although the sun was beating down on my bare arms I had to spend some time there. As I walked through I tried to let go of all the crap of my week: my bad attitude, my impatience, my sorrows, my tiredness. I spent some time singing in the middle since there was no one around. As I left I asked the Lord to fill me with his presence and piece. This labyrinth is very interesting to visit because there are all these little trinkets throughout that people have left. See pictures. It makes me wonder why people left them: to commemorate something, to let something go? I felt like I wanted to leave something too but had nothing to leave that meant something to me. There was so many great metaphors in this hike. Persevering is hard, its tiring, you work toward something you think is your goal and you find out it isn't. But the Lord always has the victory. Feeling like I needed to commemorate the experience in some way, I scratched on a rock, IWI "It's Worth It." All the frustrations, tiredness, sunburn, was worth getting to this labyrinth. Following God is always worth it in the end, even if you are at a point that is disappointing, or frustrating, or you feel lost. God always has the victory and its always worth it.

PS Magically, somehow I did not get sunburned, despite being 3 hours in direct sunlight with little sunblock on. Another way the Lord cared for me.
 Some trinkets left behind

 I'm sure you can't read it, but it explains how to enter into the labyrinth

Hard to see, but its supposed to read "IWI." It's Worth It.

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