An article in the Gazette, the local Colorado Springs newspaper, caught my attention. The article entitled, “O’er the fields we go”, opened with the following words – “At 27 of Colorado’s 42 state parks on January 1, you’ll find rangers ready to lead you on a First Day Hike, sun or snow.”
As I read the article, I thought of some parallels and contrasts between these Colorado rangers (guides) and the believer’s “ranger”, the indwelling Holy Spirit, as we begin a New Year. Below are a few of my thoughts.
- A ranger is an expert on the path or hike the group is embarking on. Though individuals in the group may have a general understanding about the upcoming journey, the ranger really knows the way and shares important details along the way. From the rangers expertise will come increased knowledge and unexpected delights in the journey. The parallels here are pretty obvious.
As we enter a new year we may have a general idea of how it will look, or perhaps we’re really confused at this point. But we can be sure that our “ranger”, the indwelling Holy Spirit, is indeed an “expert” on the journey ahead. He knows the path from beginning to end and will give us important information and unexpected provisions all along the way. The familiar words through Jeremiah assure of us of God’s knowledge and plans for our journeys – “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a future and a hope” (29:11).
- Unlike the Colorado ranger who only offers this special guided tour on January 1, the indwelling Holy Spirit is with us to guide, encourage, strengthen, counsel and comfort each day, each hour, each moment of the coming year.
But in the midst of this contrast there is also another parallel. Like the Colorado ranger’s promise, the Holy Spirit presence and provisions will be with us in the “sun or snow” – in the seasons of light and the seasons of darkness, in the seasons of delight and times of great difficulty. The Lord’s words through Moses to Israel are for us today as well – “…..your strength will equal your days…..The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms” (Deut. 33:25, 27).
- A rich and fulfilling journey is a cooperative effort, the expertise of the guide coupled with the attentive ears of those being led. A picture accompanying the Gazette article from a “First Day” hike shows a group staying close to the ranger. Some at the front of the group are seen to be particularly attentive to the ranger’s words. Again, I think the parallel is obvious.
The Holy Spirit is with us to be our guide. We’re invited to listen attentively with expectation for His “still small voice” to guide us and provide needed counsel and insight for us in the New Year!
On the journey with you,
More about Ralph
One Challenge was blessed to have mission pastor Ralph Anderson, and his wife Joyce, at OC International for over 20 years. They tended to our souls through the Word, prayer, counsel, and encouragement. In 2020, Ralph handed over this role to Gill, another great man of the Lord, who is walking alongside OC workers in their ministry journey together.
Read more articles here: From the Pastor’s Pen.