The LORD is My Sherpa ~ an aspiring thru-hiker’s perspective on Psalm 23
~ by Sir Fob W. Pot
The LORD is my Sherpa, my Leader, my Model, my Defender and my Protector. He hikes out in front of me, showing me the path to follow to reach the finish line and the crown that awaits. He hikes behind me, nudging and encouraging me to stay focused and to take it one step at a time. He walks beside me, as a friend, and we talk things out, like good friends do. He surrounds me with Trail Angels, both seen and unseen. I don’t want Him on my team; rather, I am on His team…a team that has already defeated Satan and this fallen world.
With Christ as my LORD, I have all that I need and many of the things I want. I trust that I’m better off without some of the things I want, as they might distract me from more godly pursuits. I need to keep my focus on Him, not the temporary trappings of this world.
Each and every evening, there is a safe place to lay my head. I may set up my tent in a green pasture or on a rocky mountaintop. Or perhaps I’ll find myself in a shelter, a hiker hostel, a hotel, a friend’s home, or even the loft of a barn. I may be alone or surrounded by others. It may be snowy, rainy, or sunny. Regardless, without fail, every night I am eventually safe, dry, and warm, and I thank God for that.
God has provided life-giving water. Sometimes the water is fast moving, a place to get good drinking water. Sometimes it is a hot shower, a place to wash my tired, dirty body. Sometimes the waters are calm, a place to fish, soak my feet, or just sit and reflect on this marvelous world He has created. I have been thirsty, but never for long. I have been hungry, but have never run out of food. God sustains me.
Each morning, I’m renewed and restored. I feel the prayers of family and friends that have been lifted up for me and my fellow hikers. I feel a sense of purpose that goes beyond just hiking miles. He has put me on this earth, and this amazing trail, with a mission in mind. Perhaps I can help someone to see that this incredible beauty and amazing design around us is the result not of chance, but the work of an amazing Designer. Perhaps today I can encourage someone with a kind word or good deed. Or maybe today I will be the one needing encouragement. Regardless, God will fill my soul today as only He can.
He leads me on the right, true path, because that path leads to Heaven, my final summit. Katahdin is a goal, a dream, and I hope to get there. But it is an earthly pursuit, with only temporal benefits. If I fail, so be it…most do. But Heaven! Majestic, glorious Heaven! May I always strive to follow His Holy Word, the Bible, as it provides the path, the white blazes if you will, that lead to that final golden summit and an eternity with Him! God’s Word teaches, comforts, instructs, rebukes, and challenges me. May I take its messages to heart and encourage those around me to follow it as well.
Even though I hike in and through some dangerous conditions…lightning storms, heavy rain, freezing temperatures, and searing heat…with bears, snakes, and ticks posing potential trouble, I’m not afraid of ANY of those things. God has my back. He comforts me. He calms me. He protects me. His Holy Spirit lives and moves and works within me. He’ll bring me home to heaven when He is good and ready and not one moment sooner. Even if tragedy were to strike me, do not worry about me, friends. All is well with me and will remain well with me. My future is secure.
There are a few enemies out here on the trail, or at least scoffers, who doubt my faith, reject God’s Word, and on occasion put temptations before me. God is there even then…especially then. He picks me up and dusts me off and forgives me when I fail.
God provides spray to prevent insect bites, ointment for scratches, sunscreen for protection, and bandages for blisters. Like His Word, they must be applied to be effective. I have all that I need, and then some, thanks to God.
As He has watched over me in the past and now on the Appalachian Trail, my hope and assurance is that He will be with me until the very end. I have experienced and benefitted from His goodness my whole life. He has shown mercy to me as a sinner in need of grace. I am sad that Christ so willingly paid my debt, but I am oh so thankful for it. May I show that appreciation in the way I live my life and treat others, even here on the trail.
And some day soon, may Christ return and bring me home, along with other Christians who have staked our hope and future and eternity on Him. We want nothing more or less than to live forever, together, in the home Christ has prepared for us. Come quickly, Lord Jesus!
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