“They’re not gonna catch us. We’re on a mission from God.”
—Elwood Blues, The Blues Brothers
For too many years, I was seeking God in all the wrong places as if He was lost. He was always with me but I was the one that needed to turn around and stop going in my own direction chasing after foolishness in order to “find” Him. Ironically, this lesson was brought home not just once but twice in a region bearing the name, “St. Anthony’s Wilderness.” Saint Anthony of Padua, is the patron saint of lost and stolen articles
About a year ago, I was hiking again in St. Anthony’s Wilderness. I’m no stranger or slacker when it comes to hiking in these parts. Although St. Anthony’s Wilderness (State Game Lands 211, 80, 210, Swatara State Park and Weiser State Forest) is the 2nd largest roadless tract in Pennsylvania, stretching across the Blue Mountains in 3 counties (Dauphin, Lebanon & Schuylkill) and encompassing over 44000 acres, I’ve traversed and explored much of its estimated 30 mile length on the Appalachian, Horseshoe and secondary and lesser-known trails.
How this area acquired the name “St. Anthony’s Wilderness” –
In 1742 Conrad Weiser, Officer of Indian Affairs for Pennsylvania requested that Ludwig Von Zinzendorf, leader of the Moravian Church and his followers embark on a peace mission to ease tensions with the local Indian tribes of the Kittatinny and Blue Mountain. The journey started in Philadelphia and eventually leads them to the top of a rocky mountain overlooking a steep narrow valley dwarfed by steep Blue Mountains. Impressed by the view, Zinzendorf named it Saint Anthony’s Wilderness in honor of Anthony Seyfert, a fellow missionary. “That portion of country between the Blue Mountain and Peters Mountain was known at an early period, by the name of St. Anthony’s Wilderness and is designated on a 1749 Lewis Evans map, in the Book of Deeds, located at the Secretary’s Office at Harris’s Ferry“. (The History and Topography of Dauphin, Cumberland, Franklin, Bedford, Adams, and Perry Counties, PA”, published 1846 by I. Daniel Rupp). This map is now located in the Library of Congress, Washington, DC.
This time I was ambling along, picking wild blueberries with a friend and nearly stepped on a rattlesnake in the tall grass. The sun had gotten in my eyes and until the telltale “rattle“, I had nearly missed the snake in the grass. This scenario was further underscored later that day as we passed a large rusty water tank hidden in plain view along the trail. I couldn’t imagine how many times that I’ve passed by it and failed to see it! It was well rusted and since the coal and colliery industries had shut down with the railroad over 100 years previous, it was obviously rusting in peace for decades.
When we truly see God, we find He’s already here with us all along!
We instantly realize that He was never hidden from view but that our vision was obscured, dulled and distracted by lesser things.
Jesus says, in Luke 12:2:
“Nothing is hidden that won’t be revealed, and nothing is secret that won’t be brought out into the open.”
When we stop trying to “find God” and start living as Jesus taught, praying as Jesus prayed and start doing as Jesus tells us to do, then we realize that faith truly comes alive by hearing God’s Word and it opens the eyes of our hearts to see Jesus as Lord.
“The Lord knows those who are His.” (2 Timothy 2:19)
What parent doesn’t keep a watchful eye over their young? Most parents will gladly share their “brag book” photographically or electronically, both “snapshots” of precious moments in their child’s development. Your heavenly Father knows right where you are for since Adam, no one can hide from Him.
You are the apple of His eye! (Deuteronomy 32:10; Psalms 17:8; and Zechariah 2:8) Your Father is looking over you, waiting for you to stop chasing after things and seek Him in returning and rest. He longs to speak to your heart and still it from the storms that have set you adrift from Him. He waits for your cry so that He can lift you up on eagle’s wings and restore you to uprightness in Him. He has a hope and a future for you that was created before you were even a glimmer in your earthly father’s eye!
His arms ache to hold you, to touch and make you whole. His Voice only speaks Truth and will show you the errors of your ways as you followed the lies of this world’s prince of darkness. His presence will comfort and guide you into a fruitful and pleasant field where you will know your purpose as “found” in Him.
This is the only Real, the only True, the only Lasting: The Eternal God who longs to pour His Holy Spirit and Living Word into you so that you may be one with Him forever and ever, even as Jesus Christ walked the earth and was received back into the heavenlies.
When that day comes, the deaf will hear the words written in the book.
The blind will see out of their gloom and darkness.
Humble people again will find joy in the Lord.
The poorest of people will find joy in the Holy One of Israel.
Tyrants will be gone. Mockers will be finished.
All who look for ways to do wrong will come to an end:
those who make people sin with words,
those who lay traps for judges,
those who, without any reason, deny justice
to people who are in the right.
This is what the Lord, who saved Abraham, says about the descendants of Jacob:
Jacob will no longer be ashamed.
Jacob’s face will no longer turn pale.
When they see all their children,
the children I made with my hands,
they will acknowledge my name as holy.
They will treat the Holy One of Jacob as holy.
They will stand in terror of the God of Israel.
Then those who are wayward in spirit will gain understanding,
and those who complain will accept instruction.
“His father said to him, ‘My child, you’re always with me. Everything I have is yours. But we have something to celebrate, something to be happy about. This brother of yours was dead but has come back to life. He was lost but has been found.’ ”
Prayer for Today:
Heavenly Father, may I not be blind-sighted by the lesser, material things that keep me from Your great love in Jesus who came to set me free to really life. Help me to see the higher value of Spiritual things. AMEN.
“Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him…but…Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” (Matthew 6:8, 33)