Today’s Author: Barry Brahier

In 1st Kings, chapter 19, Elijah walked 40 days and 40 nights, traveling alone from the desert to Mount Horeb. What was that walk like? I think God was close because Elijah was alone, traveling in nature. So I like to think I may be inviting God to come close when I am alone and away from the myriad of human-made structures, objects, and machines that surround me most of the time.

Photo Credit: Barry Brahier

I’ve had the good fortune to be able to treat myself to a brief wilderness experience each fall for the last ten-plus years. Every October I solo kayak the large lakes that comprise Voyageurs National Park in far northern Minnesota and camp on their many islands and peninsulas. Each trip is 5-8 days, usually in October.

Deprivation is not one of my goals! I bring along all the chow and creature comforts the kayak will hold. Physically, paddling can be strenuous and setting up camp burns calories, too. But this isn’t climbing Mt Everest.

What these trips provide is plenty of solitude and opportunities to witness God’s creation nearly unspoiled by human activity. In October, very few people use the park and it’s rare to see anyone. Because I travel only as fast as human power allows, I notice more of what I see. God isn’t really closer I suppose, but I am able to be more present to God because I’m more able to listen and watch. So how has God shown up?

I’m a big fan of the idea that there are three kinds of prayers: “Wow!” “Thank you!” and “HELP!” During a Voyageurs trip, I find myself praying one of those nearly constantly. “Wow!” at the sunrises and sunsets, at the boulders that have been there long before me and will be there long after I’m gone, and the chickadees that fly within inches of my face, among other wonders too numerous to mention. “Thank you!” for favorable winds and mild weather and for the resources and abilities that allow me to enjoy these trips. “HELP!” most often on the water during those instances when wind and waves require constant attention.

My Voyageurs trips are a great excuse to slow down, watch and listen for God. What are your favorite activities that help you slow down and focus on God’s presence?

“Mid-week devotions are authored by members of our community.  If you are interested in creating a trio of reflections to be shared on an upcoming Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday contact Pastor Peter.