Janice, who took part in our Freedom Challenge hike to Wyoming earlier this year, shares how God has been speaking to her during a tough season in her life
Hiking. Women helping women. Wyoming. I’m IN. There was something about this year’s Freedom Challenge that prompted my heart and spirit to register. I wasn’t part of an organized group or team and signed up by myself, fuelled by God’s prompting. He was up to something.
Beyond the fundraising, signing up meant getting outside and hiking, working up stamina and strength and the bonus was noticing God’s beauty in a dusty state part in drought-stricken southern California. I tried to rally friends to hike with some success, but mostly it was a couple of weekly solo hikes, up and down 1,000ft. starting at virtually sea level.
God bought me into a spacious place
Hiking with the ladies in Intermediate Team Yellow was a delight; we prayed, talked and traversed many trails together. But the truly special part was how God brought back to my mind Psalm 18:19… “He brought me out into a spacious place; He rescued me, because He delighted in me.”
Nearly 10 years ago, God gave me this verse during a very difficult break-up – it clearly wasn’t God’s will for me to continue to date this man I knew from church. Back then I resented this ‘spacious place’ verse because it reinforced my pain of my singleness and being ‘left behind again’. I didn’t feel rescued from anything and the pain felt far from God’s delight.
The more I have lived with this verse, I have gotten to explore the ‘spacious place’ that God had for me, taking advantage of ministry and travel opportunities to see over 35 countries on six continents. While I didn’t then understand God’s ‘rescue’ from that relationship, I have opted to trust that He knows best and whatever I was rescued from is in the past. That leaves God delighting in me? Could God really delight in me?
The Grand Tetons are majestic and beautiful. They truly are one of God’s many masterpieces. Would it be silly to believe that God wanted to show them to me? Would it be odd to believe that He brought me here because He wanted to see my delight at the work of His hands?
As I hiked, I felt His presence and His prompting to ‘look here’ and ‘look there’, ‘see this’ and ‘don’t miss this’. I saw moose, bear, pikas, mountain peaks towering over me and rivers rushing below me. He was with me and I with Him. The views were magnificent and propelled me to take each next step. I truly felt His presence on the last day as we hiked to Amphitheater Lake, 10 miles roundtrip, 3,000ft elevation gain to 9,700ft and so many switchbacks that I lost count.
The view of this high Alpine lake was beautiful. It was there I recalled what my Ugandan pastor friend would say when he sees something of great delight, “God made this just for me to enjoy it. He knew that I would come someday.” That is exactly how I felt. God brought me here to show me His creation, His majesty, and His omnipotence. He was taking great delight in reinforcing in me who He really is – God the Creator, God the all-knowing, God the all-powerful. In Him I could put my full trust and come to accept that He does delight in me, and delight in my enjoyment of Him, His creation, and being in His presence.
God made this just for me to enjoy – because he knew I would come someday.