A life-long Texan, I did something last week I had never done. I visited Big Bend National Park. If you've been there, you know it's a crying shame I've been in Texas all my life and am only just now experiencing one of its greatest treasures. If you haven't visited the park, you literally do NOT know what you're missing. It is incredible. Every Texan should put Big Bend on their bucket list.
Of course, a mere four days of camping and hiking were not sufficient to cover 800,000 acres of Chihuahuan Desert, the Chisos Mountain Basin, and 118 miles of the Rio Grande River cutting its way through towering canyons, but my 20 year-old son and I covered as much of it in that time as we could. Our favorite sites proved to be Santa Elena Canyon, the Chisos, and the 2.5 mile hike descending 1,000 feet of elevation to view The Window (pictured above). We have vowed to make this the first of many trips back to Big Bend. There is so much more to see.
Wondering why it took me so long to get to Big Bend reminds me of a time early in my walk with the Lord when I tended to stay on the main "paths" in my personal Scripture reading and study. For example, early on I spent a vast majority of my personal time in the New Testament writings of the Apostle Paul, and this tendency even creeped into my early practice of ministry.
When I was a young pastor, a church member asked me why I preached almost exclusively from New Testament passages. Frankly, the question caught me off-guard, and I initially dismissed it as a misperception. Initially, that is, until I reviewed the sermon log I've always kept and discovered I had been using the New Testament as my source for messages about 80% of the time. Talk about a beaten path!
Like Big Bend, some of God's richest truths, though discoverable, might not be right on the most-traveled path. It took my son and I almost nine hours to drive to Big Bend. It was a great adventure, and proved to be worth every mile and measure of time. The time I spend in God's Word, whether for personal reading and study or for sermon preparation, has become the same type of adventure, especially as I explore the treasures of God's Word found outside the routine and popular "trails".
My son and I, most likely, will never exhaust the discoveries to be made in Big Bend, no matter how many times we go back. Of course, the treasures to be found in God's Word are equally, if not more, inexhaustible. I can't wait to discover the next "find" in my Bible.