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Saturday, August 15, 2015

More than grubs...

I must admit - I like watching these shows where people have to go through extremes to stay alive and survive their "trek" in the wilderness somewhere. They get "dropped" in some remote location with very limited survival gear - one guy actually lives life without shoes and has been dropped in some pretty freezing places without any shoes and only wearing shorts!  I don't really want to be one of these individuals who has to survive in the wilderness with only a length of fishing line, a hook, and a knife.  I really like the comfort of my bed, a warm shower in the morning, and the ability to brush my teeth!  Worrying about what I will eat, where I will shelter from the elements, how to ward off the wild creatures, and the like is just not my cup of tea.  Yet, I find the journey they take and the skills they have developed to be amazingly interesting.  The ability to identify things growing in the wild, foraging for food, and even setting traps to obtain a little bit of protein for their diet often shows such creativity and determination.  One such quest is that of finding water - for without water, they won't survive no matter how much food they have!  I kind of think this is the case when it comes to our Christian walk, too.  No matter how much food we have, if we aren't washed, refreshed, and made new by the waters of God's grace, we are just not going to be going very far!

The Lord is my shepherd. I will always have everything I need. He gives me green pastures to lie in. He leads me by calm pools of water. He restores my strength. He leads me on right paths to show that he is good. (Psalm 23:1-3 ERV)

One of the things the survivor experts all do is find an appropriate place to make their shelter.  They must decide, based on their surroundings, whether they want a shelter off the ground, within a cave, within the treeline, or on some cove beach.  They set out gathering the wood, leaves, branches, and vines with which to construct their first night's shelter.  The longer they are in this remote location, the more they work to make their shelter functional, keeping them away from the bugs, warm at night, and free of driving rains. They will scout out various leaves, fruits, roots, grubs, and the like which can serve as a food source for them until they find something more substantial.  You might see them work on getting fire started, to assist not only with cooking some food, but to purify their drinking water - something they may have a little challenge with if they haven't been dropped into a region with fresh water springs.  I have watched them find water in the petals of flowers, the gathering of large leaves on a plant, and even at the base of a tree by a body of water. They dig a small hole somewhat removed from the main body of water, allowing the sands between the main body of water and the smaller hole to actually work as a filter to remove a lot of the sediment and "filth" of the main water hole.

What does all this survival skill have to do with our walk with Christ?  In reality, we are kind of "dropped into" a world we are little unfamiliar with when we first come into this relationship with Christ.  At first, we kind of find our way around by experimenting with the various "tools" we have at our disposal.  We read a little bit of the Bible because we know it is supposed to be a source of nourishment for us.  We spend a little time in prayer because we are told it becomes a place of rest and release.  We don't really know what all we have access to in Christ until we spend a little more time getting to know our "new placement" in life.  As with the survivors on these shows, we don't know what is at our disposal until we begin to look around, experimenting with what we have been given, and then the real journey begins.  Unlike these survivors, what we receive in Christ is not by our own doing - although we sometimes get this a little confused and still go about trying to accomplish things within our lives only grace can really provide.

As the survivors stay a little bit longer in their remote location, they begin to experience it with eyes and ears which see and hear things they begin to recognize as good or bad.  They have roamed freely and found resources which will benefit them, while being keenly aware of those things which they must guard against in order to remain well, protected, and in the "survival" mode. As I indicated, the first day may not reveal much in the way of resources for sustaining life, such as food and water.  As they begin to "dig in" a little and find these sources of sustenance, they may have a few challenges to actually realize their "benefit" to their lives.  They have to find ways to purify water so it doesn't give them dysentery, or get those coconuts down from the highest trees in order to enjoy their tender fruit and nourishing milk.  It often takes us a while to "dig in" when it comes to our Christian walk - finding all kinds of resources, but not really understanding how we access them, what benefits they will have for us in the long run, or what to do with them once we have them.  A coconut in the tree is good - in our hands is even better - but finally opened up and enjoyed is like heaven!  Until we possess and access the bounty within, it is merely a "resource" untapped.

In our daily walk with Christ, we have lots and lots of resources - many "untapped" as of yet.  Our "challenge" today is to examine the resources we have been given, look closely at how it is we access them, and then to do more than just possess them.  We need to go to the next level with those resources - such as the survivor does when he digs the small purifying "well" next to the body of water, or the rubbing of sticks together to produce the fire which will function to purify that water.  God doesn't expect us to do all the work, but trust me on this - the "effort" we exert in obtaining what God has put at our disposal and actually beginning to "use" or "employ it" in our lives is worth it!  Just sayin!