I live in the middle of a national forest in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. A national forest that comprises approximately one million acres. Where I live, there are literally tens of thousands of acres that may not see a human being in years and years. It is a wild area consisting of hardwoods, conifers, cedar swamps, bogs and lakes. This is the terrain where I hunt. I give you this information, so you will better understand what I am about to say.
I have spent more than fifty years hunting and roaming the woods. During that time I have never used a compass. I simply never felt the need for one. Let me explain with an example.
Many years ago when I was yet a young man, I trailed a deer into a large cedar swamp. I had come across an unusually large set of deer tracks. By trailing it I hoped to get a chance to look at it and if it was a large buck, maybe even a shot at it. I trailed this deer far into the swamp. I eventually was able to jump it. It was a large buck with a huge rack. Because of the thick cover, I was unable to get a shot at it. I continued to track it in hopes of another chance at a shot, but it was not to be. As dusk was coming on I decided I should try to find my way out of the swamp. Backtracking myself out the way I had come in was out of the question, as that would take hours. It would be dark long before then and I did not have a light with me.
I tried to figure which way I should go, but after several attempts I was no closer to getting out of the swamp than when I started and it was beginning to get dark. I decided I was not going to try to think my way out. I would simply start walking and go by instinct. It was dark long before I made my way out of the swamp, but I walked out exactly where I had entered several hours earlier. I still had nearly a mile to go but it was terrain I was familiar with. Since then I have relied on this God-given instinct many, many times to find my way around the woods. Wild animals all possess this instinct. They never become lost. They travel wherever they wish with never a thought as to how to get there.
Unlike the animals God created us in his image. He has endowed us not only with survival instincts, but with the ability to think and reason far beyond any other creature.
Sometimes we take the ability to think too far. We plan and scheme to get more out of life. We want better jobs, bigger houses, more toys, cars, vacations and so forth. We want to enjoy life more, but in the end we complicate our lives and become slaves to our desires. There is nothing wrong with wanting to better ourselves, but too often we are trying to fill a vacuum in our lives that can only be filled by Christ.
We even tend to overthink our relationship with God. We think we need to clean our lives up, to be a better person before we come before him. We think we need to do good deeds, that somehow we can earn our way to heaven. Just like in the swamp when I wasn’t able to think my way out, we cannot think our way to Jesus and we don’t need to. Jesus will meet us right where we are right now. He will receive us just as we are. Regardless of where we are at in life, regardless of our problems, we can have Jesus in our lives right now.
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