By: David Stewart
God created the world, but I think Hawaii was designed by Jesus. When I read the Bible, I see Jesus spending a lot of time around water. He preached from boats, he was caught napping on boats, he even found quite a few disciples fishing from boats. Jesus spent so much time around water that one of his famous miracles was mastering the craft of walking on it. Jesus appeared to his disciples in one event where he was making breakfast for them beside the sea of Galilee and asking how their fishing was going. That was basically an example of Jesus cooking out like we locals do at Ala Moana beach park. The gospels are full of events surrounded by water and Jesus seemed to make the most of his surroundings.
I have discovered after living here a few years that hiking has become one of my favorite hobbies. Did you know there are approximately five hundred hikes just on Oahu alone? Some are short and could be considered walks in the park, while some are very lengthy and all-day events. I have completed about fifty-five so far and hope to one day be able to say I have conquered them all. It would have been so much easier if I pursued this venture when I lived here before, as I was much younger then. One of the most famous hikes is considered illegal, so I will not tell you that I completed that one, but I will not tell you that I have not either. What I can tell you is that hiking has created so many memories and newfound friendships in just a few short years.
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As a fan of hiking and a follower of Christ its easy for me to sometimes merge the two and often make connections between them. For example, one morning I found myself on top of a mountain overlooking part of the island in Waianae, and I thought of Jesus. I thought about how he was once tempted by the devil on an extremely high mountain and offered what most would consider a good real estate deal, if Jesus would only worship him. Another hike in Aiea, I saw a spot that looked like paintings that portrayed Jesus teaching his disciples on the mountain side. Then there was one hiking trail in Kaneohe that I found myself alone at the peak and felt an overwhelming desire to pray. Jesus sometimes felt that way as well and he went away to pray while his followers fell asleep. Then there is the mention of a “stairway to heaven” hike and the mind has to wonder to a place called “heaven”, or for me this specific verse comes to mind as well:
I prophesy to you eternal truth: From now on, you all will see an open heaven and gaze upon the Son of Man like a stairway reaching into the sky with the messengers of God climbing up and down upon him!” John 1:51 TPT
One morning I was hiking on a trail that rewarded you at the end with a small waterfall. The hike was short and easy, but at the end I decided to hang out and enjoy the morning. I climbed to the top of the waterfall and sat upon a rock to take in the sceneries. A few minutes later I saw a lady in a wedding dress walking the rocks barefooted, right after her …a party of about twenty people followed. A photographer came and I realized I had positioned myself to by an eyewitness to a wedding. At this point, I could not leave my location, or I would become featured in their lifelong photographs, so I just sat at a distance and watched. This got me thinking about weddings in the Bible. I thought about how Jesus was at a wedding and caught in an unexpected moment where he had to turn water in to wine. Every hike I seemed to go on, I seemed to always think about Jesus and some event in the Bible.
A few days ago, I had another thought while at a beach here on this island that Jesus must have created. I thought about another verse as I watched people lay on the beach and enjoy the ocean views and suns warmth.
Every moment you are thinking of me! How precious and wonderful to consider that you cherish me constantly in your every thought! O God, your desires toward me are more than the grains of sand on every shore! When I awake each morning, you’re still with me.
Psalms 139 17-18 TPT Jesus thinks of you more than the grains of the sand at all the beaches we have here on island! My fifty-five thoughts of him on my hiking trips pales in comparison to grains of sand. If we can somehow get a complete understanding of how much we are in the Lord’s thoughts, then maybe we could understand how valuable that make us to him. Do not let anyone or any scenario you find yourself in make you feel unloved or unworthy. If God has so many thoughts for good about you, imagine what life would look like if we knew what they were. Take time to hike with Jesus and see what he speaks to you on the mountaintop. Take time to go to the beach with Jesus and see what he serves you at your cookout. I may think that Jesus designed Hawaii based on his hobbies in the Bible, but I know Jesus LOVES you by his actions in the Bible. My encouragement is for you is to get to know him and hear him tell you all this directly, in the beautiful place we call Home