A meditation on discovering God through nature.
I pull the laces tight on my sneakers and stretch my legs for a springtime walk in the woods.
As I follow the dirt path, hard packed by many feet before me, I keep my eyes fixed downward to avoid tripping.
My focus is on the path before me. Bumps and twists fill my view. Rocks crop up out of the ground, threatening to stub my toes.
Gnarled roots sneak out, reaching to trip me up.
My attention is consumed with the obstacles in my way. My energy is devoted to avoiding them. To keeping myself upright.
The path I travel is hard. It seems to never end. Endlessly I follow, wearied by the pace of trying step after step. My stability is threatened.
I pause to catch my breath.
I peel my eyes away from the ground to take in my surroundings. The earth that filled my view gives way to a slotted wall of tree trunks all around.
Every way I turn, the rigid stalks stand before me.
The rough bark fiercely guards the wood within. The forest stands still and strong, fortified against any threat of wind or harsh weather.
As far as I can see, the massive brown posts mark their territory.
What am I in the face of such strength, such impermeable greatness?
I could be lost to these woods forever. They could swallow me up in my insignificance. Forever I would wander, always bumping up against another stately rooted guard ordering me to stop, redirecting me, telling me to step aside.
The walls are closing in and there’s no escape.
The mingled browns surrounding me are suffocating. It’s impossible to navigate. The darkness stands firmly in my way on all sides.
In frustration, I raise my clenched fists to the sky.
My chin tilts back, my eyes look up, and I catch a glimpse of living green.
As my fingers uncurl and my hands drop slowly back to my sides, a breeze brushes my cheek and lifts my hair.
Above me, the long thin branches of the tree begin to sway. The rock in tune with the wind swirling around them.
The gentle gusts rustle the soft leaves together, calling forth breathy music from their dance. The canopy above me is a web of motion and song.
I drink in the energy they exude.
As the lacy treetops flutter, rays of light flicker around the leaves and catch my eye. I blink, slowly, and pause to feel the sunlight soaking into my still upturned cheeks. They offer me warmth and life.
As my eyes open again, they’re drawn further upward, past the treetops to the expanse of blue sky above.
Suddenly I feel free.
I’m released from the pressures bearing on my mind, threatening to bring my demise. The darkness is replaced by the clarity of the open air. The captivity by the freeness of the dancing leaves.
When I looked down, obstacles were all I saw. Burdens filled my view. When I looked around me, I felt no escape.
Only when I turn my eyes upward do I find peace and light, freedom and joy. I discover a song my heart can sing, a dance to move my soul.
My Jesus, when the troubles on the path of life wear me down, lift my eyes to You.
When obstacles constantly fill my path, lift my eyes to You.
When every step is hard, lift my eyes to You.
When I’m surrounded by walls that hold me back, lift my eyes to You.
When this big world makes me feel so small, lift my eyes to You.
When darkness seems to be my fate, lift my eyes to You.
You are the breeze among the leaves. With You, I can dance among the most rigid wood.
You are the infinite sky stretching past the horizon. With You, I find the space to grow.
You are the sun warming my face. With You I find warmth and joy for my soul.
My Jesus, You are all that’s good, helping me through the most difficult paths in this life. May I always turn to You for comfort, consolation, and strength. Be my aid when things get tough.
Guide me through these woods, to my eternal home on the other side.
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