It has happened every year for more than the past decade. At the end of July I head for the Redwoods. As the miles fall away and I travel north the grayness of the world around me seems to disappear. By the time I come to rest in the midst of incredibly tall Redwoods and the south fork of the Eel River metaphorically the ambiguous shades of rationalization found in every big city of the world has been transformed by forces unknown into crisp decision points.
Don’t get too excited, I haven’t found a paradise with people living lives reflective of the ultimate nirvana. The people gathered here reflect much of society. With clearer vision the questions that face each of us everyday as just more pragmatic. In the Redwoods I find myself confronted by the present and all that comes with it. Relationships are entities that need to be nurtured and developed. Those getting older require more time and attention. Opportunities are special jewels that must never be squandered.
The fact is that when one anywhere tries to “exploit the poor or glad-hand the rich—whichever, you’ll end up the poorer for it.” (Proverbs 22.16) I just find the Redwoods making things more black and white.
The challenge here is the same as there. What am I going to do with the realization? Can I let go of my personal needs and respond to the community? Will I define myself by God or others?
Nature anywhere is unforgiving. Drive too close to the edge of the road and your wheels will go on a walk-about. Walk through berry bushes and your blood will testify to the adventure. Dabble with poison oak, even if you are innocent or ignorant, and your body will testify to the experience.
God offers us something different. He offers acceptance and mercy instead of judgment. He provides love and hope instead of unforgiving reality. The challenge and opportunity is how we respond. What will it be – Exploitation or flattery versus nurture and fellowship? Your decision is the real world today.