I have learned a great deal about God from nature. I think this is true for many lovers of the outdoors. An escape to the outdoors reconnects us to the simple beauty of our earth and reminds of – whispers to us – what is important. In the past, to me, church was church and the trail was the trail. I received verbal lessons about God in church and internal lessons in the places trails took me. I always gained my greatest lessons from the outdoors. But now a local church has found a way to bring the two together in a subtle way.
The 12Stone Church of Lawrenceville, Georgia has opened a 1.6 mile trail that twists and winds up and down through the woods of their property. It is a simple trail that doesn’t end with a breathtaking view of a valley, it doesn’t take you to a stream or a lake, and it isn’t steep enough to create a major challenge or an adrenaline rush. But this trail is a quiet reminder of the beauty that is found close to us if we look for it. This trail is a reminder of what God has made for us to enjoy.
I took my wife and two little boys on the 12Stone Church trail for a short hike last Saturday. The wind blew through the trees and pushed the leaves of fall from branches into the air. My toddler caught a few of the leaves and showed each one to me, while my three year old carefully selected walking sticks that he would carry for a hundred yards before exchanging the stick for a new one.
We spent just over an hour on this easily accessible trail and left rejuvenated and restored. The church built this path so they could enjoy what God made, and they shared it with the community so that others can escape the hassles of daily life. If you are close to Lawrenceville I suggest taking an hour or two and exploring this wooded trail, by yourself or with people you love. So often we plan our hikes around mountains and great vistas when there are so many wonderful places nearby worth visiting.