Photo Cred – one of the gang who came to Killarney with us. If it’s yours let me know please

I was chatting with/texting my baby sister Amy this morning.  We are doing a Bible study together.  We have done “devos” on the You Version Bible App (highly recommend by the way) for years, but I prefer my personal time of just writing out the word of God and asking him to show me himself in it.  So instead of doing a devo that someone else wrote, she is joining me in reading and reflecting on the book of Hosea. Ya, she’s jumping right in with both feet!  (If you are not super familiar with the Bible, you might want to start somewhere else, like maybe the book of John) It’s going to be challenging.  There will be moments when she, and I, will wonder why the heck we chose this book.  We will feel a little shocked by the intensity and, hopefully, get a glimpse at the heart of God in the crushing drama that is the history of Israel.  We will see our own reflection in Gomer and in Israel.  We will remember the intensity of God’s love for his people and how devastating it is to reject that kind of love.  We will see how far God will go to bring those he loves back to himself.  I’ve read this one before.  Trust me when I say, it’s harsh!  Amy and I are in for a wild ride.  

As I was texting her this morning I was trying to find a way to encourage her that it’s worth it, and that going right to the text instead of letting someone else do the digging and learning on our behalf is a worthwhile exercise.  I just wanted to give her a word picture to inspire her to keep at it when the going inevitably gets a bit tough.

This image came to me, and honestly, I love it and had to share.  So here I am typing a blog instead of working out like I should be at this time of day.  (Thank you so much for reading so that I can feel like I am doing something useful and not just procrastinating because it’s arm day and I have chicken wings for arms). 

Doing a devotional someone else wrote is a really valuable thing.  Far be it from me to ever discourage someone from reading and learning from others of our family in the faith.   We need each other.  It’s a bit like drinking a bottle of water someone brought you from one of those beautiful fresh water lakes in the middle of Killarney Park that is clean and clear and uncontaminated.  And oh my goodness!  It tastes so good, and it refreshes your soul, and it hydrates your body.  It is a good thing, and it is good for you to enjoy it.  Please drink that water deeply.

But once you are hydrated and feeling a bit stronger, consider this with me.  Someone took the time to hike and paddle and hike and paddle (if you need context please refer back to “On camping, turtling and a wife of noble character”) and they slipped on the rocks, and they pitched their tent, and slept out there cooking their food over a fire.  They also sat in the pitch like darkness of the night and saw stars they could never perceive from any other vantage point.  They ate blue berries off a bush that tasted like nothing they had ever experienced, and leaning over the gunnels of their canoe they scooped water into their mouths and drank deeply of the crystal water as they watched the refracted sunshine 30, sometimes 40, feet below them playing on the rocky bottom.  They woke up to the stillness of the lake with that indescribable mist playing over its surface that makes you truly believe you are gloriously alone in the world.  And they fell asleep again to the voice of thousands upon thousands of crickets and frogs reminding them that they are in fact surrounded by life. 

I could go on and on, but I think you see what I’m trying to say.  You are drinking the same water, but going out there and getting it yourself enables you to experience so much more.  You learn by getting there and by experiencing the journey for yourself.  There is a joy in it that I just haven’t found any other way.  Like Amy and I are doing, I highly recommend bringing a friend.  Find your own islands to explore during the day, but around the campfire at night compare notes.  When you go home, see what other explorers have said about similar voyages they have taken.  Make sure you didn’t miss something while you were there.  But, by all means, take the journey.  Don’t be satisfied with only reading stories from people who went there.

Photo Cred – one of the gang who came to Killarney with us. If it’s yours let me know please

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