The wilderness, the “out there,” has always been for me the place where He is most real. Almost ten years ago now (it feels like another lifetime), I spent three summers working at a Christian wilderness camp in the Rocky Mountains south of Calgary, Alberta. For me, that has always been the place I remember encountering Jesus the most. That main photo was our backyard, the nearest town was two hours away, showers were hard to come by and we all smelled like smoke most days. Out there, away from civilization, away from all the distractions and noise of modern life, was the place for me where everything else just fell away and only the important things in life remained.
The other camp staff used to joke that we helped people learn to trust Jesus by putting them in situations where they had no choice but to trust Him, and it was true. I will never forget the first night I was asked to look after the site by myself. There’s something about being out in the mountains, 300 yards from the nearest neighbours (uphill through the bush in the dark), trying to sleep in a canvas-wall tent, that sobers one up in a hurry. I very quickly realized that if a bear did show up (and we’d seen them occasionally on the way in so I knew they were around), my odds of getting out of my sleeping bag and then getting out of the tent and making it to the neighbours’ trailer, baring divine intervention, were basically zero. I had to trust that He was there with me and the book of Mike wasn’t written to end with me as supper for a grizzly. That knowledge helped me to sleep that night (even if my fear did get the better of me the next night).
My hope in this blog is to bring a little of that reality to life.