One activity that my husband and I enjoy doing together is hiking. We stumbled on this mutual affection quite accidentally three years ago during a weekend get away to a city not too far south of where we lived at the time. On our last day there, we were looking for something to do. Browsing the literature at the hotel, we saw an advertisement for a nature preserve that had a hiking trail. Although the day was quite warm, we headed out to find the park. The hiking trail was about two miles of wooded path that, at times, was not well marked. We got lost a few times and had to turn around and find our way back to the path, but that added to the fun of the day. By the end of the hike, which included rocky paths up and down hills, we were both sweaty yet thrilled with out accomplishment. We bought t-shirts from the nature center to change into and some bottles of cold water to quench our thirst. On our drive home we replayed that hike and the enjoyment it brought us. We agreed that it was definitely an activity we would love to do more of; we also agreed that hiking in tennis shoes was not the best idea and a quest to find hiking boots that would be suitable to various weather conditions began. Since then, we have made it a point to seek out hiking trails both locally and when we travel to other areas.
There are two types of paths typically found on a hiking trail. One is a paved path. In our experience, this type of path is usually a flat blacktop path that winds through green space. The other type of path is a gravel or dirt path. This is often the type of path that is found winding through wooded areas and up and down hills. Some hikes combine the two types of paths, while others are exclusively one of the two types. I personally prefer the gravel path through wooded areas. On one trip to Illinois a few years ago, we decided to find a place to take a hike. My husband left it up to me to choose. I powered up Google and began a search for the perfect place to take a good hike. I found one, hubby punched its location into his GPS and off we went. The internet promised a hike that would be around five miles and culminate with a beautiful waterfall. The problem, though, was that part of the path was under construction so what was labeled on the map to be about five miles actually ended up being TEN miles! And the waterfall? Yeah, that was non-existent. Oh, the hill was there to climb to see it, and the rocks were there. The problem, though, was it hadn’t rained in Illinois in weeks, and the lack of precipitation meant no water falling over the rocks. We were about eight miles into the hike, our hiking boots, normally tan and brown, now white from the limestone path, when my husband said he couldn’t go any farther. I’m sure there was a look of panic on my face as I
encouraged told him that he needed to keep going–I couldn’t get a vehicle back there to get him! Two miles later, both of us were never happier to see our van in the distance. The next day, neither of us could walk very well and our feet had multiple blisters.
I don’t think I’ve been allowed to pick the hiking trail since then.
In the last few weeks I have likened my walk with Christ to the various hiking trails we have found and challenged ourselves with. Sometimes the path is paved and flat and winds through green space. While this path can be easy to walk, it does get boring at times. More often, though, the path is gravel. It is hilly with branches and stones that, if I’m not careful, will cause me to lose my footing. This path is much more difficult and tiring, and, like my husband that day, often I want to just stop. I don’t feel that I have one more step left in me. This type of path has caused something more than just weariness, though.
It has caused confusion.
When the Supreme Court ruled in favor of legalizing gay marriage in all fifty states, my Facebook news feed, my Twitter feed, and my blog reader were all filled with opinions written by various people on both sides of the issue. Some spoke out against the ruling. They cited reasons that ranged from the fact that homosexuality is a sin and goes against God’s design for marriage (a stance I very much agree with by the way) to the fact that the Supreme Court does not have the Constitutional authority to force all the states to follow a certain law (a stance I also very much agree with). Others wrote in favor of the ruling, proclaiming a victory they felt was deserved. Now, I would expect such a statement from those living the homosexual lifestyle. The Bible tells us “the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing”. What really frustrated me, though, was the number of Christians who spoke openly about their support not only of the Supreme Court over stepping its boundaries, but also spoke out in favor of homosexuality itself. I read posts by people who claim to be followers of Christ that said Jesus would marry a gay or lesbian couple if He had been asked to do so.
Um, no He wouldn’t.
Some of these Christians rainbowed their Facebook profile picture to show their support of the sin as well as used the hashtag #lovewins as part of their posts. The fact that many of those who used that hashtag said nothing loving whatsoever about the Christians who opposed the ruling went right over their heads. One friend of mine was verbally attacked by a gay rights supporter, called a hater and a discriminator, yet at the end of the tirade, the poster hashtagged #lovewins. Really? That doesn’t seem very loving. Although, having been on that end of hatred being spewed out of a keyboard by a so called Christian, I know all too well how often it happens and how it feels to be on the end of it.
Perhaps those Christians who not only accept homosexuality, but also insist that Jesus accepts it as well, are the Christians walking the paved path. That path is easy as it is flat and winds prettily through sunny fields of wild flowers. Their shoes stay clean and they are relaxed at the end of the hike.
I’m not one to take the easy path, I guess. I like the challenge of the gravel, the hills, and the woods that block out the light of the sun. I like my boots to be covered in gravel dust and to feel, at the end of the hike, that I accomplished something. This makes me a minority, even among fellow Christians I guess.
Confusion seems to be the rule of the day for me lately. I am not confused about the clearness of Scripture when it comes to homosexuality. I believe it to be 100% a sin and I believe the Bible is very clear on that. But, why is it then, that some “Christians” condone it? What else in the Bible do these Christians dance around? And with all the voices out there, how do I hear God’s voice and know for a fact that it is His and not just a man’s interpretation of His Word? Even more important, how are the lost supposed to know what the Bible really says if there is such disagreement among Christians on some very tough subjects?
One thing I do know. The hashtag #lovewins, while maybe not completely incorrect since we are commanded to love others, would better be represented with this one: #Godwins. For, in the end, God does win.