Life Outside the Grid

In my idle time I like to watch the ‘Destination America’ channel. I am especially drawn to such series as ‘Buying Hawaii’ and ‘Buying the Bayou’ and especially ‘Buying Alaska’.

WOW!, Buying Alaska… I suppose I’m most intrigued by the hardy souls who are drawn to properties in the remotest areas of Alaska—areas ‘outside the grid’. They want to get away from it all—to rough it—to live off the land. It is their desire to be totally independent—self sustained—self sufficient. In so doing, they are forfeiting all the benefits and comforts that living within the grid affords. They are choosing rather to barely subsist, living in near unbelievable primitive housing—no running water, no electricity, no sewage disposal, no access roads, no neighbors. It seems so odd to me that such people would choose kitchens with no refrigerators, sinks with no faucets, no indoor facilities where they can take care of business when nature calls or take a hot shower after an arduous day in the woods. They are obviously cut from different cloth than me.

There must be some sense of accomplishment and pride derived by saying they did it themselves, proving they can make it without depending on the sources of energy and pure running water which is readily available when living within the grid. They declare that they can cut their own firewood to provide heat during the brutal Alaskan winters, bring in water from nearby rivers and streams and boil it to remove the impurities. They can purchase their own little generator to provide their own electricity (as long as they are able to keep an ample fuel supply). They can rely on a remote, dark, unheated ‘outhouses’ to take care of business when nature calls, and forego any need to take a hot shower. Primitive ‘coal oil’ lanterns prove to be a necessity during the long winter nights.

Although many of the couples in search of such a primitive way of life appear well groomed, scrubbed and brushed and pampered, they seem anxious to leave all that behind. They are set on following their dream, away from the maddening rush of the big city. They imagine sitting on their porch with a morning cup of coffee, looking across the lake at the distant snow capped mountains and marveling at their ‘million dollar’ view. They dream of sitting cozily in front of the fireplace on cold winter nights, sipping hot buttered rums as the snow is gently falling outside their window. Wow! What romance! They fantasize of the enjoyment they will receive by walking a couple hundred yards to the water’s edge, catching their dinner from among the plentiful salmon, and roasting them over an open fire. They surmise that a single moose will yield about 600 pounds of meat; enough to last them all winter. They look at the dense stand of trees surrounding them and proclaim there will be plentiful firewood.

For whatever reasons, they are indifferent to the negatives accompanying such lifestyles. I wonder what happens to their dreams when it is dark 20 hours out of each day, 30-40º below 0º, and snow is 6 feet deep outside their door. Can you imagine trudging through such severe conditions during the darkest hours of the long evenings, carrying the obligatory ‘coal oil’ lantern, merely to use the ‘outhouse’; or make a necessary trip the the wood shed to gather another supply of fire wood. What happens when the fuel for their little generator runs low, and they are snowed in—prisoners within their houses? How hard will it be to fetch water from the surrounding rivers and lakes when the ice cap is over a foot thick? No quick trips the the grocery store to pick up some essentials; and no neighbors! No sense of community! No one one to call on if they need help. I would imagine that they will also be off the grid for cell phones (which can be both a blessing and a curse). Although they will no longer receive computer generated telemarketing calls during their dinner hour, but they will also lose contact with all their family and friends—no way to call for help in times of emergency.

Sudden thought: I wonder how many Christians choose to live outside God’s grid. Like the hardy souls buying Alaska, it is the natural desire of many Christians to be totally independent—self sustained. They believe in God, love God, but choose to go it alone, forfeiting the benefits and comforts and abundant life readily available when living within His grid. They are trying to live the good life outside the wonderful sources of strength and power which is only readily available when living within the grid of God’s amazing grace.

I suppose there is some sense of accomplishment and pride derived by saying they did it themselves, proving they could make it without tying into His power. Their motto seems to coincide with Walt Whitman’s quote, “If you done it, it ain’t bragging.” They don’t need God’s grace to survive. But I wonder what happens when the storms come and the lights go out; when they lose a dear companion or child; when life wipes out their ‘nest egg’; when they get a bad report from the doctor. Who do they go to when they need the help and encouragement of fellow Christians? How can they help a Christian brother in his time of need?

In such times of stress we might be inclined to ask “How do we tie in to God’s grid? How do we access His grace? How can we become recipients of all the comforts and benefits He has for us?” Short answer: Faith! Live by Faith! Faith is the conduit to all His grace and power. “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God (Ephesians 2:8 NASB).” Notice the words, “through faith”. When we, through faith, put our total trust in God, we have tied into God’s grid of amazing grace and His awesome source of strength and power. Jesus described the power available through faith when He told the multitude gathered around Him “if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you (Matthew 17:20 NASB).” How is that for tapping into the power and energy available when living within God’s grid! The Apostle Paul elaborated on that in Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (NKJV).”

Let me also share a couple more of my favorite Scriptures relative to living within God’s grid. “Oh, how great is Your goodness, which You have laid up for those who fear You, which You have prepared for those who trust in You (Psalm 31:19 NKJV).”

And another wonderful verse along that same line, “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him (1 Corinthians 2:9 NKJV).”

Ah, life can be so much easier when we are living within God’s grid—experiencing all the benefits God amazing grace affords.

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