In Montana, where my family and I live, we are surrounded by nature. Glacial lakes, undulating rivers, soaring mountains, and elegant grasslands are all within a quick drive from my home.
One of these idyllic locations is Glacier National Park's Logan Pass. Situated on the continental divide amidst ten-thousand foot peaks, standing there feels like you're in the mythical land of Narnia. Except for one detail, there's a parking lot in the middle of it.
Now, don't get me wrong here, I'm thankful for the infrastructure that allows my family and I to experience this beautiful place, but the contrast is undeniable. Most summer days, this place that was once untouched majesty now resembles a Target parking lot on Black Friday. The juxtaposition of God's glory and man's desire for control is on full display.
Your relationship with God should be wild: dynamic, vibrant, and awe-inspiring. But, if we aren't careful, our relationship with God can end up looking like a dusty parking lot when it should be a vast wilderness. It takes work to stay wild.
One of the facets of a wild relationship with God is being able to endure affliction and have patience in pain. Learning how to suffer well is difficult, but not impossible.
James tells us that it’s all about listening. More specifically: that we listen, what we listen to, and how we listen.
When going through hard times, we should listen to hear God’s plan through it all. Through prayer and human relationships, it’s possible for us to hear God’s voice in the midst of trials, but we have to be intentional to open our ears.
We also need to listen to God’s Word over the other authorities, opinions, and distractions that clamor for our attention. His Word gives us the truth we need to face challenges with joy.
And finally, we need to listen and then act. James tells us clearly that hearing is not enough. If we want the adventure of a lifetime that God is offering us, it requires us to actually do what He tells us to.