Simplicity and the spiritual life

Some years ago, on a backpacking trip with a friend, I learned about the value of water. We were in the wilderness, our supply was running low, and the only water available was inaccessible because the sides of the hills running down to the swiftly flowing river were too steep.

The grandeur of our surroundings made it easy to think of God and of how He cares for His whole creation—from ladybugs to red squirrels. We both were convinced that we were also under His direction, and we were praying to follow whatever guidance we received. Our water held out until lunchtime a day later, and that "just happened" to be the moment when we came across a small, flowing stream.

Coincidence? We didn't think so. We felt so close to divine Love, as we walked along and prayed, that we felt certain we were being guided to what we needed. This experience and others we had on that trip helped me see that real simplicity is something more than "not having a lot of things." It's a way of looking at life. On that trip we learned that when we looked to God and were obedient to Him, we had everything we needed. Even when we were back in "civilization," I found that having ready access to water, not to mention soft drinks, juice, milk, and other liquids, didn't have the same meaning for me.

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Radical living and scientific Christianity
December 30, 1996

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