Nature and God would take care of the slackers.”
–Zane Grey (The Call of the Canyon)
“Study and be eager and do your utmost to present yourself to God approved (tested by trial), a workman who has no cause to be ashamed, correctly analyzing and accurately dividing [rightly handling and skillfully teaching] the Word of Truth.”
–2 Timothy 2:15 (AMPC)
Several years ago I had the opportunity to work with the Freeway Forest Assembly of God Royal Ranger program. Through the guidance of Wilton Christopher an exceptional program was developed. Every year we took trips with the older boys: Alberta, Montana, Idaho, Colorado, Tennessee to name a few. There was no real fear in taking these boys for they had developed the skills needed to survive in the wilderness if need be; they could take care of their commanders if an accident occurred. We had confidence in them, and they trusted us.
In that same program, at a different church and a few years later, I had the opportunity to instruct boys in survival skills. They knew the essentials of how to live in a wilderness environment. Today however, we live in a different world. No longer do many know these skills, they do not know the spiritual survival skills. They do not know the essentials of the Bible. How in the world are they going to defeat the enemy of their souls and the world system that so intent on their destruction?
If people find themselves in the wasteland of the wilderness for more than a day, and even one day may be enough to do some of them in, you had better be prepared to survive. Some may die in one day because of injuries, hypothermia, sun stroke, or a hundred other calamities. The largest part of survival is to be prepared. If people are prepared, they have a decent chance to overcome the obstacles they might face.
It is better to be prepared and never need to use your skills than to find yourself in a bad situation and not know what to do.
But I might also add, that one of the main reasons that people find themselves in a wilderness is simply because they were not already prepared; not knowing their way, not knowing what to do, not knowing how to read a compass, and they become lost. Being lost in the wilderness can be frightful! Fear of what lies ahead or what might be following them, or the fear of the unknown–a major factor in the wilderness–may bring destruction. Fear can debilitate and paralyze. The key to dealing with fear is to have courage, which some have described as the “control of fear.”
Fear in itself is not so devastating, but that uncontrolled fear often leads to panic. Panic is destructive. Wasted energy, irrational thinking, and a pessimistic outlook are all products of panic. Maybe the greatest product of panic is loss of hope. With the loss of hope, the will to survive begins to break down.
No matter the type of wilderness a person finds themselves in, the loss of hope is devastating. Even with all the fear, panic, and lack of hope currently prevailing in this world, the Christians should be prepared to meet it. The Christian should be able to take heart, not panic, and overcome.
In one sense the whole of life is a wilderness, and the believer is just passing through. We are wandering, looking for a city whose builder and maker is God. Wandering through this wilderness called “life,” or called “earth,” many challenges arise, but the lack of hope should not be one of them. While others are aimless in their despair, the believer survives, looking upward to the Hope that is in our Redeemer. When natural fear begins to bring on a panic attack look to the Author and Finisher of your faith and have hope. When trials and temptations reach out to grip your mind and heart with their searching tentacles remember the words of Paul to the Corinthians, “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13, NKJV)
Therefore, learn the tools of survival, understand how to use your equipment. Learn the dangers of the wilderness in which you are traveling; learn the snares of the devil so you can detect and avoid them. Above all, never lose hope; it is the first great tool of survival.
(Much of this is taken from my book–Trails in the Wilderness)