|Appalachian Trail, north of Newfound Gap, TN|
I, too, love to look all around me and see nothing but that which the Lord has created. The sights, the sounds, the smells of the forest seem to have a way of renewing the soul. The Bible tells us,
"For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead," Romans 1:20.
Every aspect of the forest shouts out to us that God is alive, He created this world and He loves us more than we can ever imagine. Every twig, every branch, every leaf, every mountain, every stream and river sing His praises and tell of His love.
Of all the senses the forest evokes, sight is probably the most profound, but sound is a close second. When we first started hiking the Appalachian Trail, I envisioned I would want to listen to music as we hiked. I made an extensive playlist I thought would be perfect and it included all my favorites. Of course it included "Appalachian Spring" by Aaron Copeland...how could it not?
But as we actually started hiking, I realized what I would be missing by plugging up my ears. The gentle gurgle of a bubbling stream, the sound of birds calling out to each other, the crunching of leaves under our feet, the call of unknown critters and creatures on the surrounding hills would all be lost to me.
Appalachian Trail, North of Damascus, VA
But it isn't just the sound and the sights. The smell of the forest is wonderful. It has a fresh and old smell all at the same time. Different woods, their leaves making a carpet over the trail, blend to make a potpourri of the woods. With all my tree allergies, I was concerned about how they would be affected on the trail, but I actually seem to do better in the forest. Almost to prove the point, in all our years of hiking, I have had only one migraine while hiking.
There is nothing quite like being "immersed in a forest," as Glen says. I agree and each time I leave the trail, I long to be back again.
But it also speaks to us of a different immersion in our lives, our immersion not only in God's creation, but in Him.
"For in Him we live, and move, and have our being;"
We are totally immersed in Him, but our earthly eyes cannot see it. Our earthly ears are dull to His call, our earthly nose cannot fathom the beauty of His scent. Whether we are aware of it or not, whether we respond to all He has placed around us to show us of Him, we nonetheless "have our being" in Him.
For those of us who have trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ, this is an incredible truth. We are in Him and He is in us. We are joined together, never to be separated.
"...Your life is hid with Christ in God." (Colossians 3:3.)