52 Lessons God Has Taught Me Through the Outdoors

I’ve said before that nothing can replace God’s Word, His written revelation, when it comes to knowing Him and finding specific direction for one’s life.  But our life experiences and our relationships can help reinforce those unchanging truths; those experiences provide a laboratory where we blow stuff up, make things sizzle, or discover what’s really buried inside us.  For me, one of those living laboratories has been the outdoors.

I manage a training team at my work, and over the years, I’ve learned what makes for effective learning.  The simple lecture alone will not get it done, but when coupled with teaching aids and exercises, people begin to engage in a life-changing way.  Studies show that when people can see what’s being taught and practice the concepts first hand, they retain upwards of 85 to 90 percent.

If we observe scripture, we see that God follows the same approach.  Often times He uses illustrations and training aids from His creation to explain an important teaching.  He places us in an environment where we can feel, smell, touch and take in living lessons.  His vibrant lessons are there everyday we step out the front door, as we head toward our busy day.  Here are some things He is showing me, and I know you can add to the list.

  1. God loves order and beauty.  He’s a designer and an artist.
  2. Some things must die to bring forth life.
  3. A small beginning (acorn) can grow to become a huge success (the oak tree).
  4. Strong trees have deep roots, and trees beside the stream flourish.
  5. Little things can have a significant purpose.  Just observe the ant or the honey bee.
  6. Just as I can count on the seasons, I can count on God.
  7. As beautiful as nature is, something’s still not right.
  8. Death is an ugly business, but also a blessing.
  9. I have less control of things than I think I do.
  10. Run from fear and it will chase me; it can easily overcome me.  I must face it.
  11. Walking in a dark forest without light is dangerous business.  It’s easy to stumble and get lost.
  12. Water, fire, and light are three of God’s favorite training props.
  13. I must be careful where the stream carries me.  Don’t want to just drift through life.
  14. God is my anchor, and He will hold me steady.
  15. Temptation can lure me into the open and into the sights of the Enemy.
  16. Be consistent and follow through; this helps me hit the mark every time.
  17. Fish where the fish are and fish where God tells me to fish.
  18. I need to notice things right in front of me.  They are often well camouflaged.
  19. Special things happen to those who rise early and stay late.
  20. A small spark can spawn a huge fire.  A good fire cleanses the landscape.
  21. A productive knife requires constant sharpening.
  22. Fly in formation—must support my team.
  23. Be prepared.  I not only carry a physical survival kit: I carry a spiritual one as well.
  24. I always use a map, a compass, or a guide to keep me on the right Path.
  25. A successful person knows how to hunt something down, drag it home, and eat it.
  26. Am I taking care of the arrows in my quiver?  Will they fly straight over their lifetime?
  27. I should not waste my life when it’s not mine to waste.
  28. God’s vast resources bless all of us – those who know Him and those who don’t.
  29. God is big—I am tiny.
  30. Pruning is necessary for healthy new growth.
  31. Sacrifices must often times be made.  And usually at the innocent’s expense.
  32. Life’s not all about me.  Forces are at work here that are greater than I.
  33. I must walk through the valley to get to a mountain top.
  34. One step at a time—that’s how I get to where I want to be.
  35. Nothing’s really new.  New is just a repackaging or a recycling of the old.
  36. The flower wilts.  Beauty and youth eventually fade.
  37. I’m a steward, not an owner.
  38. Everything has a purpose, a time, a season.
  39. The dog is one of God’s greatest gifts to man.
  40. Hard work is rewarded.  Persistence pays off.
  41. God loves diversity.  And I think to some extent, He favors change.
  42. Patience, patience and more patience.
  43. I sometimes need to get away and be alone.  Our Lord stole away to the hills.
  44. Be on the lookout.  Better that I spot the danger before it sneaks up on me.
  45. The world holds many mysteries.  How well do I really understand our universe?
  46. All things were made for His glory.  I and the creation, we’re made for His pleasure.
  47. Sometimes life stinks and sometimes it’s very fragrant.
  48. Humankind must always be cultivating.  I must sweat and realize my limitations.
  49. Solving one problem often creates another.
  50. Nature is a noble thing.
  51. Something better lies beyond this world.
  52. Take a kid fishing.  Take a friend hiking.  We weren’t built to experience this life alone.

How about you?  What lesson is God showing you through His wild creation?

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6 Responses to 52 Lessons God Has Taught Me Through the Outdoors

  1. Chris Peek says:

    Excellent post Scott! So much truth to be gleaned from your journey. I resonate with many of these but especially 9, 10, and 13. God continues to impress upon me how little control I have over little things, like relationships. Thanks for sharing.

    • Thanks for the comment, Chris. I realized 9 even more last spring when the tornado outbreak swept across Al and GA. We aren’t a match for mother nature. God is always holding all the cards.

  2. Don Morse says:

    Love it, never thought about #35 before “Nothing’s really new. New is just a repackaging or a recycling of the old.” So true, it’s all here we just change it to make something else.

  3. Andrew says:

    Really good list Scott. I stumbled onto your blog the other day and really have enjoyed reading your posts.

    • Andrew … thanks for checking out the post. I peeked over at your site. Looks like yall have a heart for helping others during tough times. Look forward to hearing your advice!

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