This week just gone by was one of those weeks that is a great one, on reflection. It was also one of those weeks that filled me with more than just mild concern as it approached.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I quite like hiking. So the prospect of hiking for two days in the Dharug National Park with a bunch of Year Nine boys doing their Bronze Duke of Edinburgh practice hike was no problem at all.
I also don’t mind presenting at conferences and I’m quite passionate about advocating for the needs of EALD (or ESL) and International students in the secondary school environment. Actually, perhaps too passionate… I could start an entire other blog about it.
So two days, one after the other, of presenting at two different conferences about EALD education is (sad but true) something that I don’t mind, could even enjoy a little.
But I’ve got to turn down the positivity here and say that I was not looking forward to the GP appointment in which I was receiving vaccinations for my trip to Indonesia in early July. Not looking forward to it, but I knew I’d cope.
However, it wasn’t until towards the end of Week Three of this term that I had the realisation of ‘Hang on, all of that is happening in Week Five of term’. Hence my mild concern. A collection of mostly pleasant events when bundled tightly together becomes a large hill to climb.
The entire week was a metaphorical hike. I started chunking the week to help me cope with the ensuing delirium:
Thursday work + conference
And then the GP gets to go jabbitty-jab-jab-jab at 5:45pm on Friday evening.
Actually, it was more like 6:15pm, but that’s a standard expectation when you book an appointment at the local clinic at the end of the day/week. I caught up on some sleep in the waiting room.
My whinging aside, the week did have many positives. As I walked (and scrambled up rocks) in the bush I had time to look around at the beautiful Aussie bush and reflect.
I reflected on the fact that, not only was my week a metaphorical hike, the Christian life is a metaphorical hike. As you journey with God sometimes you feel like you’re climbing up a steep hill. This could be when people question your beliefs or you feel like God’s trying to teach you something and you’re not listening very well.
Other times when you “walk” as a Christian it’s pretty easy sailing; like walking along the top of a ridge with few plants in the way. Other times you feel like you just spent hours and hours bush bashing your way through heavy scrub, only to now find yourself falling off a cliff.
However, the thing about the Christian life is that you never walk alone.
There was definitely more than one occasion during my two days of hiking where I needed a hand up or down (sometimes even a push up) and I had people there to help me when I needed (thanks to you, kind colleagues).
Just before Jesus was crucified he told his disciples that he would send the Holy Spirit into the world. There is much that could be said about the Holy Spirit, but some other names for the Spirit are ‘The counsellor’, ‘The Helper’ and ‘The Spirit of Truth’.
The Holy Spirit is a personable power that helps us in our weaknesses and as we walk the Christian life. We are never alone or forsaken. We are always helped. The Holy Spirit even helps us as we pray. Apparently he’s a bit like a translator, who interprets our pathetic attempts at prayer and turns them into something decent. The Bible describes this as ‘intercession’.
I think the Holy Spirit has done a lot of interceding for me recently, because as I saw my “metaphorical hike week” approaching I felt the need to pray for energy to get through to the end. So I did.
And that’s how I think we get there and reach the goal; both in our metaphorical hike weeks and in the Christian life: through prayer and help from God.
He’s always listening and even if you don’t really know what to say, it’s like a meeting of the UN. God’s got his supernatural headphones on, thanks to the work of the Holy Spirit. He’ll turn your pathetic attempts into the best rhetoric ever.
Wherever you are “in the bush” this week, feel free to give prayer a go.
Yours in walking,
Image Credit: Photo taken somewhere in the Dharug National Park. This is actually the only photo I took across the entire hike. So, despite the blur, it’ll have to do.