Borders and Seasons

The US/Canadian border at Niagara Falls
The US/Canadian border at Niagara Falls

Driving across the United States is an interesting experience.  Because I live on the East Coast, but I also travel fairly often to the western US, I’ve driven at least halfway across the continent a few times – about 80 times at last count.  While it takes longer than I really appreciate (three days to get all of the way to the West Coast), it’s definitely not all bad.

Driving I-70 through Colorado
Driving I-70 through Colorado

For one thing, driving across the country gives us time to chillax between the very different worlds of home, work, etc. and hiking and camping in the wilderness.  I’ll often read books I don’t have time for at home or just enjoy the scenery along the way.

I-80 from the Summit Rest Area, Wyoming
I-80 from the Summit Rest Area, Wyoming

The scenery may seem to never change while we’re driving.  In Iowa, it’s hill after hill after hill of cornfields.  In Texas and New Mexico, it’s day after day of sagebrush and oil wells.  In Wyoming and Montana, the almost-flat plateau is mile upon mile of low brush.  Even in the eastern US, the highway can seem to be bordered by endless forests.

Wind farm in Wyoming
Wind farm in Wyoming

Then, after hours of driving, you come to a state border.  Sometimes, like when we cross one of the major rivers (I forget which one, but it’s probably the Mississippi) the scenery changes dramatically.  One side of the river is flat, treed land with lush farms; the other side of the river is bluffs and dry prairies more reminiscent of the western-Midwest.  More often, there’s no direct change in scenery when we cross a state border.  We might drive across a river or a canyon, but the scenery on the other side is almost identical to what we just saw.

Views toward three states from Cement Ridge, South Dakota
Views toward three states from Cement Ridge, South Dakota

For example, standing at the Libby Flats Observation Site on the Wyoming/Colorado border, there was no way to tell what land belonged to which state – it all looked the same.  Even driving north into Canada doesn’t look that different than the mountains or prairies or forests on the US side of the border.

Views toward Colorado from Libby Flats, Snowy Range, Wyoming.  The state border is there... somewhere.
Views toward Colorado from Libby Flats. The state border is there… somewhere.

But always, the scenery begins to gradually change as we keep driving further into the state.  The trees change, the hills change, the rocks change.  If you’re paying attention, you might suddenly realize, “We’re not in Kansas anymore.”

Still very much in Kansas at the Chalk Pyramids
Still very much in Kansas at the Chalk Pyramids

On our walk with Christ, He leads us through different scenery and through different times and seasons.  We may not realize that we have crossed the border into a different season – the scenery and our circumstances seem the same.

The New Jersey/Pennsylvania state border on the Appalachian Trail
The New Jersey/Pennsylvania state border on the Appalachian Trail

But gradually, as we walk the path that God has given us to follow, things begin to change.  We might wake up one day and realize that things are dramatically different than they were a few weeks or a few months ago.  Or it may be more subtle changes that are easily missed if we aren’t watching for them.

Views into Canada from Canyon Ridge, Washington
Views into Canada from Canyon Ridge, Washington

In the in-between times, when we can’t see the change of season, we may complain to God, “It seems like nothing is moving!  I’ve been praying for this.  You said that this will happen.  What is taking so long?”  The answer is that we’ve crossed into the season God promised us – we just can’t tell yet.

Bald Mountain, High Uinta Mountains, Utah
And then sometimes Utah doesn’t look like what I expect Utah to look like… Bald Mountain in the High Uinta Mountains

Don’t grow impatient with doing good, because the harvest will come (Galatians 6:9).  Don’t give up on what God has said just because you can’t see the change in scenery (see Habakkuk 2:3).  God will come through just like the surely changing scenery as we drive across a state border.

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