The Outdoor Son of God

Stephen Ashton 3 Comments

"Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray."
Luke 5:16

My master was a Man, who knew
The rush of rain, the drip of dew,
The wistful whisper of the breeze,
Night's magic and its mysteries.

He was a Man of sun and stars,
He knew the Pleiades and Mars,
That star-trail called the Milky Way;
The crescent moon, the dawn, the day.

His feet were stained by dusty ways,
His cheeks were brown as autumn days;
His skin it had the look of one
Who knew the blazing balm of sun.

He walked alone upon the sea,
Spake peace to wave-washed Galilee;
To Him there were no sweeter tones
Than water washing over stones,

To Him no splendid symphony
Like murmuring, blue Galilee.
The sea and tree, the star and sod;
He was the Outdoor Son of God.

-William L. Stidger

It seems much of Jesus ministry occurred in the outdoors. Stories about fish, birds, boats, seeds, seas, and trees abound. Often in Scripture, we witness Jesus removing himself from the bustle of daily life to escape to the wilderness and connect with his father. Luke 5:16 says that "Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray." In Matthew 14:23, after he dismisses the crowds, Jesus "went up on the mountain by himself to pray" and connect with his father

It is after a night of prayer in the wilderness, that Jesus climbs a mountain with twelve ordinary men whose lives are changed forever when they are commissioned and designated as apostles (Mk 3:13 and Lk 6:13, Matt 10:1).

At the end of his earthly ministry, as the crucifixion approaches, we find Jesus praying on the Mount of Olives (Lk 22:39-42). It seems that in the wilderness, Jesus was able to listen more clearly, gain new insights, and find courage and strength to fulfill the will of his father.

In Trail Life, boys regularly leave the whirling world of daily duties and digital distractions behind. They join with their mentors and fathers in the outdoors where relationships form naturally, time seems to slow, and boys are able to listen, connect, and grow.

Make regular time to intentionally get away, to connect, and to grow.  Find a Troop near you or Start one Today!

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Thanks to Greg Olsen for allowing us to use his painting , "Cast Your Nets on the Right Side." Order this painting and find more of Greg's work here.

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About the Author
Stephen Ashton

Stephen Ashton

Stephen Ashton is the National Director of Marketing for Trail Life USA and serves as an adjunct professor at Clarks Summit University and Anchor Christian University. Prior to his work at Trail Life, he spent 15 years working with at-risk youth in residential therapeutic wilderness programs and served as the Vice-President of the Wilderness Road Therapeutic Camping Association. An author and a speaker, he has written for journals and published a book chronicling the foundations therapeutic camping. He frequently speaks on the topics of fatherhood, biblical masculinity, outdoor education, and wilderness therapy. Stephen lives in South Carolina with his wife and 4 sons.

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