Tag Archives: dog lovers

Destinations

Vern and Bee stayed at the campsite as we made our way to the trails that circled Stone Mountain. I had been warned about the number of steps that you must climb upward in order to get back up from the waterfall. So when we saw that there was a trail that would take us around the back of the mountain, we took it.

Little did we know that what we gave up in stairs, we drastically multiplied with steps. At first the path through the woods was flat with tangled roots, but as the day went on, the incline became steeper and more intense. At one point, we even lost sight of the trail we were supposed to be using and took a primitive path that only headed straight up.

The ascent seemed like it took hours. As we continued the steep climb I found myself covered with perspiration and having a difficult time catching my breath. The steps had turned to stone and it seemed impossible to find a place to lodge my foot to continue the climb.

As I struggled with the ascent upwards, I couldn’t help but think about the steps Jesus took towards the cross. If you ever have a chance to take a walk in the mountains, each step is essential to get to your destination. It is particularly mind boggling when you get to a point that you know that you have no choice but to go forward even when the terrain screams out to turn back.

I wonder sometimes if Jesus wanted to turn back as he made every step along the way. At the very beginning of his ministry when he was baptized in the Jordan, he must have known his final destination. Miles of walking through the dessert led him to Samaria where he spoke to a woman by the well. As he conversed with her and she was awakened to who he was, it must have provoked a thought of the journey ahead. Or what about the time he fed the thousands of people with a holy happy meal. To witness all the people experience a full stomach for the first time in their lives must have been a reminder of where he was going. Later towards the end of his ministry, as he rode into Jerusalem on the back of a mule, he must have known that there was no turning back.  While the people waved palm leaves and created a path for him, he knew he had come to his final destination. (Visit Luke 19:41-44)

Once we had finally made it to the summit of Stone Mountain and enjoyed the spectacular views, we walked down a gravel path to the car and safely back to our campsite where we were greeted by Vern and Bee. Neither of them had any idea of the treacherous journey we had just encountered. But that was okay. Vern acted like he was truly happy to see us.

My excursion up Stone Mountain was nothing compared to the journey Jesus took in my place to the cross. But I am grateful for accomplishing this feat and particularly the reflection of Jesus as I took one step in front of the other.

Intentions, A Personal Encounter with Jesus

Carl is very intentional in what he does. He knows what he wants and doesn’t waiver from doing everything he can to get it. Take for instance his desire for treats. Carl will sit, lie down, or stay in order to get a piece of food. If he wants attention, he will take his paw and claw at your arm until you pet him.

But as intentional as Carl is for food, Jesus was more so for the purpose set before him by his heavenly father. A great example of this comes in the fourth chapter of John when he travels through Samaria.  Most Jews never would go through this region because they knew the people hated them. But Jesus intentionally walked to Sychar and sat down at a specific well and waited.

Have you ever been in a time of life where you felt hopeless and that God was nowhere to be found? This is what Photina felt as she went to get her daily supply of water. Stuck in a cycle of searching for fulfillment through men, this woman had no understanding of how to get unstuck. Deep down in her soul there was a yearning for something more than the men that she slept with. But she was drowning with no way to save herself from the life that she had created.

Little did she know that a man was waiting for her at the well that would change her life forever. A man that had intentionally walked through a forbidden land until he was tired and hot just to have a personal encounter with her.

I have a hard time understanding the compassion that Jesus had as he waited. Compassion for a woman that others had rejected and saw nothing good in. But not Jesus. He saw something in this woman that would cause him to deliberately walk out of his way and wait.

And if Jesus would intentionally go many miles out of his way for this woman, why shouldn’t I believe that he will go out of his way for me?

Photina was never the same again after her encounter with Jesus. Her two sons and five sisters were known for their outspoken confession of Jesus as Lord. And as ironic as it is, Photina was ultimately thrown into a well by Emperor Nero’s orders where she died for her faith.

Carl just scratched my leg so that I would pet his coat and give him the attention he believes he deserves. His intentional actions are a good reminder to stop and think about how Jesus deliberately searched for Photina and is now searching for me.

(If you enjoy reading this blog, you will enjoy my new book, Empty Hands.  It will be on Amazon on September 6th.)