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Discipleship in the Wilderness 2

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19 September 2018 by romanin

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It is now still the early parts of Sunday morning.  If you haven’t read the previous post, the following is a testimony of a young man I took on a Wilderness Backpacking trip in the Hoosier National Forest.  It was his first time with a backpack on his back, and the purpose of our trip was to get to a quiet place where we could be free enough from distraction to encounter the Living God.  Previously, I posted the first half of my friends testimony; what follows is the second half.  It’s Sunday morning and we’ve broken camp and have been hiking for about an hour.  Here’s my friend’s account:

Then, when I grew tired again, I was reminded of the Book of Numbers chapter 20, where Moses told the Israelites to look up at the bronze snake for healing. (God had sent a plague of serpents because of the rebellious attitude of the Israelites.  When they returned to Him, God had instructed Moses to erect a bronze serpent on a pole, and whoever among Israel had been bitten by serpents needed only to look at the bronze serpent for healing.) I remembered that we had already seen a snake climbing on the tree yesterday when we saw the copperhead and I just praised God about his wonderfulness and regained my strength again.

As I continued to pray, Nick and Larry walked faster and faster. When I was away from them, I felt a deeper intimacy with God in my prayer than I have ever experienced. There was a time when I prayed for God to speak to me directly, a word immediately jumped up from my heart saying, ”You are my son, my beloved son” and I was just so moved and amazed by His mercy.

I also walked through some muddy area on the road. Thanks to the good boots I was wearing, I didn’t have much mud in other places. When I was thinking about it, my spirit was alerted and I started to think about the armor of God in Ephesians 6. I asked Nick about the shoes in the armor, which are the shoes of readiness and peace from gospel, and meditated on it: Only when we wear a good boot, which means we found peace and courage about our salvation in the gospel, can we walk in a muddy road, representing the wickedness of the fallen world, without being contaminated.

and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.”  —(Ephesians 6:15 ESV)

As we walked, the first rest place we chose was a campsite 3.3 miles away. However, when we finally found a campsite to rest at, after consulting with the map, we noticed we had already passed the original one we chose and walked 5 miles in total to the next one. At that very moment, even though my body was so exhausted already, my heart was filled with joy and praise. One verse that filled me was Ephesians 3:20, that God is able to do far more abundantly than all we ask or think. We were thinking to finish 3 miles, but he carried us for 5 miles.

Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us,”  —(Ephesians 3:20 ESV)

Right after the campsite, we reached a crossroads, where there were two directions to go: one to our destination, the other to a very close parking lot. Since my water was running low and I had been exhausted, I wanted to get some water from the parking lot. We walked for half a mile to the lot and found out it was literally a “parking lot” with nothing but a few cars there. Without any resupply, we returned back to the crossroads, and I was reminded of Kadesh, where God called the Israelites to enter Canaan, but they refused and God made them waste forty years in wilderness before leading the Israelizes back to the same spot. We also wasted one mile to explore a place to meet our fleshly desires rather than walking directly to God’s end.

Now, as we began the last 3 miles of the journey, I started to approach my critical condition as my water ran out. In the middle of the last 3 miles, as I was praying, the Spirit reminded me of the verses that I read for my morning study. Since we headed out early, I didn’t have much time to meditate on Proverbs 4 carefully but just read it through a few times. The verse that popped up was Proverbs 4:22:

For they are life to those who find them, and healing to all their flesh.  —(Proverbs 4:22 ESV)

God says to me that His Word is the medicine that heals our whole body. At that very moment, even though I was all wet from the hot weather, I felt warmth in my knees and I had a feeling that God healed me (Please read the first post to find out what had happened to my friend’s knees). Then I continued to pray for healing for one of my uncles that I had been praying for, who has been losing feeling due to blood pressure in the brain for two years. After we finally reached our car, I took off my knee braces and I found that my knees worked again without the braces. My heart was just filled with joy and praise to God for his goodness.

On our way back home, I was basically paralyzed from exhaustion. The funny thing was that Nick was worried about my body and my mind. He thought I would be so upset over this trip since I was so tortured physically from the exertion and the heat. But after I had some energy restored and started to share, the first thing I said was “This is the most wonderful trip I have ever been on”. He thought I was joking, but literally, I was so filled up and strengthened spiritually, even though physically, I was so beaten. Praise god for his wonderful plan and abundant supply of strength and hope for us to finish the trip. Overall, this trip has been such a life-changing experience for me and I would be excited to plan for another one in the near future.

I hope you enjoyed this.  I don’t want to say too much about it, except that this is from the heart of my friend who God is raising up for a great purpose.  I’ve been amazed at what God’s been doing in his life!  None of the stuff in the above story was prompted except by the Holy Spirit, and I hope it was encouraging or at least interesting to you. I for one was amazed at how the Lord worked in this trip in spite of me.  I honestly thought I had botched it up.  The purpose was to give my students an opportunity to be away in a quiet place (we didn’t do a ton of talking) to tune out distractions so that we can be aware of what God is saying.  I thought the constant struggle would be the distraction that would keep my friend from realizing God’s presence, but I was wrong.  God worked it for good.  Praise Him!

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