Rueben Job writes, “We move away from doubt at our own pace and with our own set of doubts and beliefs to master….One step along this journey that causes many people to stop and struggle is the step of actually believing God loves them and that they can be lovable in God’s sight. This more than any other step along the journey makes men and women, young and old, stumble and fall from faith to doubt. Why is it so hard for us to believe that God’s love really is unconditional and that we should imitate God’s love, not only for others but also for ourselves?
Although La Grande does not present the quantity and intensity of fall colors that you find in New England, nonetheless, this valley vibrants with the reminder that the season is changing, that this is the color finale before the white of winter.
Last week’s trip into the Eagle Cap Wilderness of NE Oregon reminded me how life is a blessing to be celebrated. Despite the challenge of rain and “agedness,” Bob Carter and I enjoyed the kind of trip we never wanted to leave. We passed through storms into rainbows and clearing skies. Psalm 23 always reminds me that the God of life is a living and a loving God, whose presence never leaves us.
The Hurricane Creek trailhead, located between Enterprise and Joseph, OR, is one the most accessible to the Eagle Cap Wilderness. In less than a mile, you find yourself in this wide canyon with towering peaks on both sides of you. A three mile hike takes you to Slick Rock Creek falls, an excellent place for a picnic and for exploring the upper creek. However, it is another eight miles to reach the Lakes Basin, and few people commit to this distance.
I think we often wonder , when God looks at our hearts, whether He can really love us. Rev. David Wilkerson of World Challenge recently addressed that question. He realizes that many fail to appropriate God’s great love for us. He writes, “from cover to cover, the Bible speaks of how loving and tender our Father’s heart is toward us. Scripture says of the Lord again and again:
In his book, “Here and Now,” Henri Nouwen writes, “Joy does not come from positive predictions about the state of the world. It does not depend upon the ups and downs of the circumstances of our lives. Joy is based on the spiritual knowledge that, while the world we live in is shrouded in darkness, God has overcome the world. Jesus says it loudly and clearly: ‘In the world, you will have troubles, but rejoice, I have overcome the world.’
As I read this magnificent Psalm, I am reminded again of how much more I need to fill myself with God and not with all the externals that I let fill me and satisfy me. St Augustine is right when he says that whatever we love outside of God, the less we love God. Yet, as this Psalm says, God never gives up on us!