"The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands." (Psalm 19:1)
Hiking is a popular activity that the whole family can enjoy which has been rising in popularity over the past several years due to its many well-documented physical and mental benefits. Researchers have found that hiking is a great way to get into shape, stay in shape, and to enhance mental well-being. Did you know that hiking is also a fantastic way to reconnect with your family and to help your family reconnect with God while out of the traditional church setting?
While you might not find any scientific studies purporting to have discovered the spiritual benefits of hiking, it is an undeniable observation that people throughout history have found a sense of connection with God when out among trees, mountains, lakes, and rivers. Even the authors of the Psalms saw God everywhere they looked in the natural world, prompting them to devote many spiritually encouraging verses to the subject, including:
- "The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands." (Psalm 19:1)
- "The heavens are yours, and yours also the earth; you founded the world and all that is in it." (Psalm 89:11)
- "In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him. The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land." (Psalm 95:4-5)
Today, despite our modern, technology-saturated culture, people continue to feel the spiritual pull of nature. If you and your family members are some of these people, then you are likely to find a sense of deep, spiritual fulfillment out on the hiking trail. Hiking will, quite literally, provide you with a path to follow to get deeper into the natural world. This is a path that others before you have deemed beautiful or interesting enough to transport them out of their modern lives and back into a sense of connectedness with nature and with God.
The main spiritual benefit of taking family hiking trips is that they can provide an excellent opportunity for parents to teach their children about the majesty of God. All too often the modern world tries to use nature in order to disprove God, but you can show your children that appreciating nature can actually bring you a lot closer to Him. Who can really see a majestic waterfall as just some water tumbling over a cliff, or detach themselves from the breathtaking beauty of snow-capped peaks? God's handiwork is written all over the stunning natural formations of the earth. His voice calls out through the bubbling of the creek and His hands reach down in the rays of the sun.
So, next time you have a few hours to spare on a weekend, why not load the family into the car and set out to some of the hiking trails near you? It will help the whole family to stay active, mentally unwind after a busy and stressful week, and take some time to explore the beautiful world that God has so generously provided for us.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.