Recently, I spent a few days at The Cove, the Billy Graham training center in Asheville, NC. My goodness, what a little slice of heaven to experience. The minute you pull into the entrance, you are taken away by the beauty and the peace that exudes from this property. The servant-hearted people who work there are filled with the overflow of joy, and their faces shine with the peace of God. Truly an amazing place. The attention to detail on the property is breathtaking. I overheard another respite seeker say that he sensed the Lord saying to him,” if people can prepare a place for you like this, just imagine what I will prepare for you.”
I received enough revelation from my days spent there to teach for the next ten years. But so much given to me was personal from the Lord. However, there is something I want to share with you.
There are several hiking trails on this property, and one that I was determined to hike was a trail 3 miles straight uphill, with a 1600-foot elevation change. Because of the challenge of the hike, you must check in with the training center and get a two-way radio to take with you in case you need help. They told me it would take about 2 hours to make it to the top, The Overlook. Of course, I assumed that meant for “other people,” not me. At the start and throughout the hike, there were several warning signs, most about bears. But about a quarter of a mile in the hike I came across a two-posted 7-foot wooden sign, written across the top the title in red letters, “WARNING.” Underneath the “warning” was the list of reasons why this hike is going to be challenging and would be a 4 hour round trip. Again, all this was for “other” people (obviously, I am a work in progress). ANYWAY, the first quarter of a mile wasn’t awful, but from that point on the terrain started getting steeper and steeper, with no end in sight. Did I mention I was completely alone, with no hiking shoes, and no water?
At the one-mile marker, I was ready to quit. I knew I couldn’t yet and was determined to get to the top. About every 75-100 yards of uphill climb, I would stop to catch my breath. On my first stop, I noticed a white post just off the trail with a scripture address written vertically on the post. On my third stop, I saw another one with a different scripture referenced. Again, up the hill a little further, another. And at each stop, I had to give myself a pep talk to keep going, knowing that if I did make it up to the top, this also meant I had to come down the hill. I was praying out loud and talking to myself the entire time. Knowing if I had someone with me, it would be easier, because you talk and could encourage each other.
That moment, I heard the Lord say, “I HAVE given you my word of encouragement on posts along the way.” That was true, however, I missed it, not because I didn’t see the posts with the Scriptures, but because I didn’t know the verse referenced. YIKES! So that was not only a throat punch but a warning as well. Spending dedicated time memorizing scripture was a daily joy for me, but for some reason, I stopped.
I did make it to the top! Coming down the hill, I did see a big black bear, and you can bet that I have gone back to spending time putting God’s word in my heart and mind. Hopefully, the next time the Lord encourages, strengthens, and sustains me with just the scripture reference, I will receive it fully.
Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Joshua 1:8