Reason to Hope

Indian Cave in Craters of the Moon National Monument, Idaho

Indian Cave in Craters of the Moon National Monument, Idaho

We love to see God come through for us, to feel His presence.  As the psalmist put it, “Better is one day in your courts [presence] than a thousand anywhere else” (Psalm 84:10).  We long to feel God and His Spirit moving and dwelling with us.

Mt. Rainier from Teanaway Ridge, Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, Washington

Mt. Rainier from Teanaway Ridge, Washington

It’s one of the reasons we choose to go out into the wilderness; it’s somehow easier to connect with God out in the places where there are fewer distractions and we are surrounded by the things that He made.  Still, we don’t always feel Him beside us, especially when things aren’t going very well in our lives.

Reynolds Mountain from the Hidden Lake Trail in Glacier National Park, Montana

Reynolds Mountain from the Hidden Lake Trail in Glacier National Park, Montana

I wrote a song a few weeks ago (not a new talent for me, though I haven’t written much in the last 5 years).  It came out from my heart and somehow landed on my lips and then on the page of a spiral-bound notebook:

 

Sometimes, I feel You here

Sometimes, it’s enough to know

You’ll never let me go

And that’s reason enough to hope.

Rainbow in Bridal Veil Falls, Yosemite National Park, California

Rainbow in Bridal Veil Falls, Yosemite National Park, California

We don’t always feel God.  He’s there – but we can’t always feel Him or see Him at work.  It’s a lesson in maturity to be able to trust that God really is still there when we can’t see Him or feel Him.

Views to a lake in Itasca State Park, Minnesota

Views to a lake in Itasca State Park, Minnesoda

Even in the wilderness there have been times where God has seemed closer or further away.  I recall a trip to the Canadian Rockies some years ago where things just kept going wrong: it rained (and rained and rained!), then it snowed and collapsed our tent.  We raced off to watch a train go through the spiral tunnel, only to find that we had left a box on the back bumper and it slid off – the only casualty was a broken jar of jelly, but it did put a damper on things.  The road to the campground was so steep and narrow that we had to back up the van to go around the tight switchback corners.  Then we pulled into our campsite and, guess what, it was raining, so we made peanut butter and (a different jar of) jelly sandwiches for the third meal in a row.  On top of it all, the atmosphere was seriously depressed, meaning that it’s difficult for God’s Spirit to move freely or for God to feel very close to us.

Trail across the Causeway in the Flat Tops of Colorado

Trail across the Causeway in the Flat Tops of Colorado

It’s wasn’t a fun place to be, and it seemed that God was far away.  We weren’t very hopeful for a bright future.

 

It’s in places like this that we have the opportunity – some might even call it a pleasure – to practice trust and hopefulness.  We get to choose to look beyond the current circumstances and say, “God is here.  There’s still reason to hope.”

Metate Arch in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah

Metate Arch in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah

David, before He was king, was in an incredibly difficult situation – so difficult that his followers were talking about killing their leader; who else could they blame for this mess?  David, too, was incredibly distressed, but instead of turning on his men, David, “found strength in the Lord his God” (1 Samuel 30:6).  When everything had fallen apart, David found his hope in God.

Wildflowers along the Wall Lake Trail in the Flat Tops of Colorado

Wildflowers along the Wall Lake Trail in the Flat Tops of Colorado

When everything looks hopeless, the very fact that Jesus is Emmanuel, “God With Us”, is enough reason to not give up hope.  He is here, and He is with us whether we can feel Him or not.  As King David would later write, “I am always aware of the Lord’s presence; he is near, and nothing can shake me” (Psalm 16:8).