The distractions of the world are no match for the soul-quietening of the great outdoors; it is a welcome refuge. While waiting for a brew to boil, it is a time of perfection that begins with recollecting the most serine moments of the day. Where was the girthiest trout landed? What was the most picturesque setting of the day? What were the memories from the past that were brought back to life as I spent the time tying the flies that I used to catch the days catch? As renewing as the answers to such questions, nothing is as meaningful as the refining of one’s heart that takes place through-out the days adventure. And somewhere in the middle, where nostalgia meets renewal, a good cup of camp coffee blends and binds all things into one, and it suddenly hits you just how good God is to you!
Some of the best things in life are pondered next to a warm fall fire, while drinking good camp coffee. The tell-tale sign that it is nearly ready, as the grounds begin to surface. A dash of cold water makes them descend to the bottom of the tin; it is then that the coffee can be enjoyed. Many best-made plans are often realized, only to be forgotten in time as one becomes mesmerized by the dancing and glimmering flames cast on a Creekside stage; and the on-set of the thoughts that follow. However, every once in a while, we manage to capture a vision and the mysteries are revealed in a way that calls us into action. And it all began as a glimmer of hope on a star-lit night over a fresh dark brew, recollecting the days events in the great outdoors.
Much like those coffee grounds descending from the brim of the cup, the greatest mystery of life could only be descended upon us through the worlds sweetest tragedy; the death of Jesus. Though His death was horrific, it was only then that the Holy Spirit could descend onto earth and into our hearts. The Holy Spirit is an amazing gift that God has blessed us with. None the less, it is so easy for us to miss the intentionality of it completely. Even after turning our lives completely over to Him, we can live a life that falls short in comparison to what God wants for us; thus we rob ourselves of His wonderful intentions for us. Understanding what a life centered on the Spiritual disciplines should look like is an intimidating thing, and it can immobilize us with a habit avoidance. It is in this state of avoidance that we hold on to the traditions and habits that make us feel connected to God, but we are instead caught up in the “web” of a phrase that has become all too common these days; “going through the motions”. It is then that our flesh nature can take over and divert us from what God wants; a deep relationship with us that is only deepened through the Holy Spirit. 1 Corinthians 2:10 points out that no one can know a person’s own spirit better than themselves. Thus, no one can know God better than His own Spirit. So when we allow discomfort and confusion to set us up for the fall of avoidance and intimidation, we fail to realize the “power-plant” that God has gifted us with through the blood of Jesus; the Holy Spirit. With practice, trust, and faith we can learn to use and rely on the Holy Spirit with-in us and see real change in our lives. Our Father provides nuggets of visions in our hearts that could result in amazing things, but we so often let the fire dwindle because we are not in tune with the Holy Spirit. If we are humbled by honesty, we can admit that our lack of understanding in the processes of how to become more in-tune, how to pray, how to seek and how to talk to others about spiritual matters creates a lifestyle of blind avoidance. Through avoidance we also protect ourselves temporarily from the pains of past mistakes that our new-found closeness to the Holy Spirit can bring to the surface. However wrenching the pain, it is then that He will heal and transform us just as the rains fill a dry creek bed.
The simple gift of the Holy Spirit is His “rains to our creek bed”. Before the death and resurrection of Jesus, one had to go through a priest or have a learning encounter through a prophet to develop a relationship with God; as a result of the first sin of man. However, peace and justification came to us through Jesus and the Holy Spirit; which our Father had promised to us. But lets face it, it is so easy for us to seek earthly things and totally ignore this wonderful gift that has the potential to bring us closer to God. If we want to get closer to Him, we must learn self-discipline in the little things so that we can become purer in all things. This purity can bring about a transformation that can make us more sensitive to the Holy Spirit. And in time, our lack of understanding and fear of what we do not understand, will give way to faith in what we cannot see. It is through this process that the Holy Spirit will become something more to us. A transformed heart desires to know the Spirit. A transformed heart will not stop in discomfort or lack of understanding. The Holy Spirit will become something sweeter than a few mysterious words that describe something from our childhood or age-old hymns lifted to the rafters of the simple aged A-framed meeting house from your youth. We can seek Him only through faith, and our understanding and comprehension of this gift can only be fathomed by seeking the promises of God. Perhaps the most ignored fundamental of our life with God is also the most missed opportunity to grow closer to Him; the Holy Spirit.
Some of my most memorable moments with God have been while holding a steaming cup of coffee, enjoying the warmth of a fire, while calling out to the Holy Spirit in faith that He will teach me more about how I can grow in Christ. That is the power of the great outdoors! Oh the memories from youth ‘till now in which the distractions are left with a roadside car, and the mind is void of all that can bind up the opportunities to communicate with the most amazing friend that one can have; the teaching and telling Holy Spirit of God. And at the end of the day, if all is right, as the sun drops below the darkening tree tops, the evening sky will give way to the swirling aroma of camp coffee.
-From One Who Struggles