You may wonder why New Trails is located in a wilderness location. We are in a remote location first and foremost is because this is where I see God speaking to his people most often. Take a look through the Bible, God often used the wilderness to speak to or shape his people for their mission and ministry. Abraham was taken from the “civilized” world and called to live as an alien and stranger in the Promised Land, he camped for the remainder of his life. Moses was taken from the court of Egypt and for 40 years he lived as a shepherd in the wilderness. That is just a sample, and it was in the wilderness that Jesus clarified his call to be the savior.
When you step into the wilderness you make a conscious decision to step away from the world of modern conveniences. You deliberately choose to leave behind Wi-Fi, cell phones and cable TV, the distractions of modern life that tend to occupy our time. I would suggest stepping into the wilderness because there are things that the modern world cannot provide that you yearn for and need to find. When it comes to renewing our relationship with God, that is something that Google cannot help you find.
Consider this an invitation to pause for a moment and consider what you might find by stepping into this wilderness environment, even for a few days.
You can find a sustainable pace to your life. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to have a sustainable pace to your life? Have you thought it would be great if you were not rushing from one appointment or deadline to another? One man suggests that busyness has only deepened our starvation for experiences that cause true transformation. Before you rush on, let that statement sink in. Has your busy schedule starved your experience of transformation? Are you living on past encounters with God, hoping to make it to your next day or time of inspiration? It is time follow the example of Jesus, who regularly withdrew either by himself or with his disciples to have some time to rest, renew his mind, pray and prepare for the work ahead. It is time in the wilderness that helps us find more peace and productivity by following this model of ministry given to us by Jesus himself. Time on the mountain, and in the mountains provides the rest and renewed perspective we all need to be more wholly devoted followers of Jesus Christ back home.
A second reason to seek out a wilderness experience is that it helps you let go of the burdens you carry. Remember the words of Jesus: “For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:30) Burdens are part of life, it is how we carry them that matters. As Jesus looked at the burdens of his day, he chose a surprising strategy to change the world. He chose a small group of people and used the wilderness to take the time to talk to them about what burdened them. In that setting of the distraction-free wilderness setting, he was able to settle them down, take their burdens from them, so that they could go out and run free as world changers in a culture that desperately needed their message of Good News. What makes us believe we can manage our time with our smart phones, or that multi-tasking is now the God designed way to change the world. If you are looking for a lighter burden, maybe it is time to follow Jesus out in the wilderness where he can settle you down, take your burden and send you back into the world to be world changers that are so desperately needed in our time.
A third reason for seeking the wilderness is that the wilderness frees us from the traps of entitlement.
The Psalmist invites us to this journey when he writes: “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!” (Psalm 139:23-24) Once again I am borrowing from another, but this observation is important. If you rarely take time to retreat and ask the Lord to search your heart and show you your sin, then you are likely to be building on the sand of entitlement. Once again don’t dismiss that thought quickly. How many times don’t we justify our actions by saying “I deserve this.” I have been so busy, I deserve…. (You fill in the blank) Jesus knowing how enticing entitlements were used the wilderness with his disciples to sever those entanglements that choked their faith, or as the author of Hebrews state: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. (Hebrews 12:1)
That is our invitation and our mission at New Trails. We invite you into the wilderness to find a sustainable pace to your life, work balanced by rest and nutrition. To find a burden that is light, as well as to hear once again from the Lord who called you into this place of ministry and service. Then to take the time to ask the question of the one who loves you with a never ending love to show us where the entitlements of life have taken root so that we can continue to serve as wholly devoted followers of our Lord Jesus Christ. While I cannot say God does not work in the Holliday Inn, it seems that his major focus has been in the wilderness.