This week’s message is a guest post written by fellow Christian blogger, Andrew Gilmore. I thank Andy for taking the time to share a personal story of God’s only true Guide. To read more inspiring posts written by Andy, please visit his blog at Andrew Gilmore.net.
“I write for people who crave a deeper relationship with God, but might not know where to start. I want to give you the tools you need to bring more clarity to your faith, and more intimacy with your Creator.” Andrew Gilmore
When God Seems Unreachable
In 1943 a Mexican farmer named Dionisio Pulido smelled something like rotten eggs. Thinking little of it, he continued working to prepare his land for spring planting.
Not long after he noticed a crack forming in his field.
Residents of Paríctuin and surrounding towns in south central Mexico had reported hearing thunder for days, even though the skies were clear.
Within a few hours of spotting the crack, the farmer saw smoke billowing upwards from the hole. Dionisio Pulido had stumbled upon a developing volcano.
By nightfall the volcano was in full eruption, spewing forth ash and liquified rock. The entire town would soon be under lava. After nearly ten years of eruptions, Parícutin, as the volcano came to be known, stood over 400 meters tall.
That’s what Ben and I had come to see.
We were both study abroad students in Mexico, total strangers just a couple weeks prior. We had class during the week, but the weekend was ripe with opportunity to explore. From Guadalajara (where Ben and I attended class) to Michoaucán (where the volcano stood) was about four hours by bus.
After spending the night in nearby Uruapan, we arose early and took a taxi to Angahuan, the village nearest the volcano. As we reached the edge of town, the driver told us where we could hire a guide. And when we stepped out of the cab into the crisp cool air of the Michoacán summer morning, we were solicited by several guides offering their services.
Being both poor and a couple of know-it-alls we declined the offer for guidance. We could clearly see the volcano, so how hard could it be to get there? We forged ahead, backpacks full of water and granola strapped to our frames.
Things went well at first with a well-defined path heading in the right direction. But after a few hours of hiking the trail became narrower to the point of nonexistence. Recalling a fork a couple of miles back, we turned around and took that trail. This too dead ended. At one point we passed unfenced long horn cows who looked suspiciously at us as we walked by.
Frustrated after hours of hiking and seemingly no nearer our destination, we hatched a new plan. We would forget the trail and simply walk straight towards the mountain. It was still in plain sight. In doing so we found ourselves on tough terrain of sharp black volcanic rocks. The ground was uneven, as if a turbulent sea had frozen and then shattered into a million knife-like rocks.
After at least an hour of progressing in this manner—up and down, leaping across the small valleys and occaisionally nicking our hands on the rocks—we became disheartened. I remember in that instance looking up at the volcano. It appeared just as far away as when we had begun the journey several hours earlier.
Dejected, Ben and I decided to turn back around. Even after twelve grueling hours of hiking, we never made it to Parícutin. To preserve our pride, we swore to each other we would come back some day.
The Only Way to Get to God
In retrospect I often think of God in relation to that volcano. He is so massive, powerful, and awe-inspiring—yet unreachable. No matter how hard we strive, no matter how many rules we observe, or religious disciplines we follow we can never reach him on our own. We need a guide.
Just prior to his execution, Jesus told his disciples, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). In other words, Jesus is our guide. He is our way to get to God and eternal life. By Christ’s perfect sacrifice at Calvary, we can be justified.
Were we to attempt justification on our own, like Ben and I attempted to reach Parícutin by ourselves, we would fail. Jesus is our guide and intercessor to the Father. And through God’s grace He made a way to bridge the gap between us and Him.
For those already in Christ, our job is to point as many as possible to the Guide by whatever means we can in hope that they too can climb the summit of salvation through faith in Jesus.
I hope one day to return to Michoacán and dominate that frustrating volcano. But if I do return, this time I’m hiring a guide.
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Thanks for hosting me, Debra!
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Andy, always a pleasure to share your writing with others. Thank you.