Hiking in Torreya State Park

Recently, my wife and I went hiking in Torreya State Park. The park is named for a rare species of the Torreya tree. This tree is only found in 4 locations on earth. Torreya State Park is one of those locations. The park is about an hour away from our house. We have enjoyed hiking there several times over the years. The Torreya Trail is a 6 mile loop. Besides the famous tree, it has something else that you don’t often see in Florida. It has hills. Some of the hills are very steep and will give you quite a workout. There are gorgeous views of the Apalachicola River from the top of some of the bluffs. It is one of our favorite hikes in the area. It is hard to beat six miles of hiking in the woods. We had a great time!

As we followed the Torreya Trail, there was something that was impossible to miss. Everywhere we looked, Hurricane Michael’s destructive power was on full display. Hurricane Michael roared through the area in October of 2018.  The park was closed for a long time. I am not even sure when it reopened. Everywhere we looked, trees were down. I don’t mean a few. I mean hundreds and hundreds of trees are on the ground. The landscape was scarred by the storm in a way that I have rarely seen. It will take many years, perhaps even decades for things to return to normal. The destruction was so obvious. It was right in your face. It was undeniable and impossible to miss.

As we walked through those woods my mind began to travel back over our 30 years of ministry. Those fallen trees reminded me of the destructive power of sin and the many lives that I have seen destroyed by it. The Bible warns us of the destructive nature of sin. Sin has a high price tag: death (Romans 6:23). The Bible tells us that sin is pleasurable for a season but when it is finished with us it results in death (Hebrews 11:25 and James 1:15). Sin wrecks lives. Sin destroys families. We know this but we live in denial. We somehow convince ourselves that we can play with sin and not get burned. We will be the exception. Our addictions will not destroy us. Our bitterness will not poison our lives. Our spiritual apathy will not lead our children in the wrong direction. And on and on it goes. But sin when it is finished with you will bring forth death. It will destroy your life. You will not be an exception. The Bible is clear. My experience hiking the trails of ministry is clear. The broken and twisted lives that have been wrecked by sin are a testimony to the destructive power of sin.

If you doubt the descriptive power of hurricanes, go on a hike at Torreya State Park. If you doubt the destructive power of sin, walk through the pages of your Bible and open your eyes. Don’t mess around with hurricanes. Don’t mess around with sin.

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