Who lied to man, telling him that unless he performs in such a way that he’s accepted by others, he’s not good enough? Who silenced his roar?
Mountains. Forests. Lakes. Rushing streams. Sunrise. Sunset. Wild animals. Night skies filled with an endless number of brilliant stars, shooting stars, planets, majesty. The earthy smell of the forest floor, shifting and crackling beneath my feet as I measure each step. The flick of an ear and twitch of a tail of a deer totally in tune with its surroundings. The sound of the wind as it whispers through the pines all around me, as if wooing me to follow. I feel as if I’m being watched and summoned by a power much greater than my eyes can see, greater than I can comprehend or dream up … and I am. This is creation, and its Maker is everywhere. Infinite. Perfect. Never sleeping. Always at work. Always calling …
Zzzzzzzzzzzziiipp. I carefully unzip my sleeping bag so as to not wake the men sleeping on both sides of me. The embers of the campfire are now just a dim glow as the predawn dew settles in. As I rise, I feel the cold of the night slip into my warm cocoon; my senses adjust to my unfamiliar surroundings; I’m staring, listening, searching the darkness. The one thing I know is that I’m here, in this place, alive, waiting for something to quicken me, to start my purpose for this new day. It’s like the wind in the pines is speaking to me, inviting me to move. It’s always been like this, for as long as I can remember. Always.
As the heaviness of sleep begins to lift, I remember where I am: Deep in the mountains of Idaho. As I quietly get dressed, I can hear the scattered unzipping of sleeping bags and clicking of flashlights as each man comes to life. Something is inside us, awakening us, pulling us toward something we are longing for. We think it’s a destination, a place where we can finally be content – happy – at peace. What we are longing for does exist; we just have to discover that it’s not what our physical eyes can see, but something deep within our core that can only be seen through the eyes of the eternal part of us – our spirit. We are all learning to see in a new way, from the inside out.
The men roll up their sleeping bags and begin moving through the darkness down the winding gravel path to the lake. More lights gleam through the trees as men come together this morning for one purpose: to spend time with their Creator.
Mist fills the air, and the predawn sun illuminates a magical mist rising from the surface of the lake. Mysterious and wonderful, it is something that only those who’ve shown up this early in the day are privileged to behold. Grey wooden docks are still, and nearby on the shore, camp canoes are lined up in a row, waiting for the next adventurer to flip one over and paddle off to discover new places. A loon sounds off, alerting all that the glory of God is once again being revealed to those who have eyes to see.
Through the fog we hear a small motorboat in the distance as an elderly fisherman navigates his craft to a spot he’s fished for decades. The tips of his poles, already prepared with lures, dangle off the bow and point the way to where he’ll anchor. He knows his way there. He doesn’t need a map or a GPS; he can feel it just as a child lying in the backseat of the car can feel the final turns as they’re arriving at grandma’s house for the holidays, and knows it’s time to sit up. Full of wonder and adventure, the seasoned fisherman knows when it’s time to shut off the motor, drop anchor, and make that first cast into the virgin stillness of a new day. He has a hope for what he’ll encounter – and so do the men lined up along the lakeshore.
These men have journeyed for hours to be here. “Here” is not just the location; “here” is a place where they can get away from the rush and struggles of their predictable, monotonous lives. They are here to discover and listen to their one true voice. They have made this journey longing to have an awakening of what they think is their soul, but what they’re longing for is an awakening of their spirit. They don’t know yet that there is a huge difference between the soul and the spirit: one is temporary and flesh, the other is eternal and contains all the power that created everything there is.
So who is that authentic man, and what has caused him to stay indoors where life is safe and predictable – and boring? What or who has caused him to lose his sense of wonderment and adventure? Who lied to man, telling him that unless he performs in such a way that he’s accepted by others, he’s not good enough? Who silenced his roar?
Men are becoming more and more emasculated in today’s society and have lost their voice, their true voice that is a reflection of the Lion of Judah. It’s a voice that moves young men and boys to want to be that man who commands respect and attention; a voice that resonates from deep within; a voice that is given to him when he finally realizes his true identity. And the enemy is doing everything he can to silence that voice. Why? Because when a man knows who he really is, he’s beautifully dangerous to the core.
“Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”
He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” And he said, “Who told you that you were naked?” (Genesis 3:8-11 NIV)
“He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44 NASB)
“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8 NIV)
Where in my life are these verses connecting right now, and what is the Holy Spirit showing me through them?