It has touched the thigh of a woman and the nose of a bear. It has sat underneath the lightning storm in Spearfish—more awesome than the Black Hills Passion Play, the reason I camped there. From the warm Virgin waters of Zion National Park to cold snow in Yosemite she’s experienced it all. The tears and turmoil of the brutal break-up with my first love was seen through the same eyes that saw my 40th birthday celebrated with wife and child while camping in northern California.
Hailey and I were going camping for Father’s Day. Pulling my tent out from storage started me thinking about the places the tent has gone; Twenty-five years of adventure, a quarter century of road trips; hail and hunger cycling from San Francisco to Malibu, ecstasy and elation on the top of Mt. Whitney, tears and questions in Zion, imagined Indian attacks at Canyon De Chelly. Each journey was a rich time of exploration, awakening and growth; each quest brought perspective and satisfaction of soul.
A tent serves not only as shelter, but as altar to gain perspective and remind of what God has done. No wonder Peter wanted to set up tents at the transfiguration (“Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, let us make here three tabernacles (tents): one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”) After bringing the Israelites out of Egypt, God told them to live in tents seven days, commemorating their foray into freedom.
This summer when you take out that tent, when you unpack that camping gear, when you bring out that old ice chest-stop and give a thought to where it’s been, to where you’ve been. When you arrive at your vacation spot and you are settled in, take time to look forward. What does your future look like? What kind of wilderness is God leading you out of? Then take the next steps forward knowing what you’ve already walked through.