It’s Moab week 2019, something I look forward to every year. It’s the time of year to take a deep breath after a full ministry season. I looked back over the past few months and noticed I hadn’t taken a Sunday away from the rhythm of weekly ministry since early August (Leadville 100!) No wonder I was beginning to feel a bit weary. So this is it – a week off!
I decided to take off early for some personal retreat time. And so far I’m 50/50 on actually taking a deep breath (a break from the ministry routine). I’m camped out near Alma, CO and spent most of the day yesterday outdoors just kickin’ around. It was fantastic as waves of snow showers would come in periodically and change the landscape in an instant, after the cracking of boisterous thunder. One was so loud, I jumped about two feet in the air. And then, a snow squall moves in. However, after dinner I just couldn’t help myself. I began to plan the next series on the Fruit of the Spirit and worked late into the evening planning themes for preaching through Christmas. Couldn’t stay away from it J. Its OK – I love it! Next series is gonna be great!
But this morning, I started off better. Cooked a breakfast and began to journal – like it, love it. Then I packed up, drove to the end of a road and hit the trail for a high-altitude hike. It was a brilliant day in the snow packed mountains between Alma and Leadville, CO. All’s I wanted to do was go up. As I followed a ridge line, I was on deep snow from the first step. I came upon some bobcat tracks – fresh after last night’s snowfall. “O God, give me a glimpse of the bobcat.”
I followed the tracks up a massive snow pack. At this time of year, these massive snow packs are firm due to the spring sunshine and the melting and freezing cycles almost daily. I felt like an elf as I walked easily on the top of these gigantic snow fields. This year, they are particularly large from the abundant winter snowfall.
I summited my first peak and decided to go for another. Everywhere I went, I kept crisscrossing the bobcat’s fresh tracks. I summited another and decided to go for one more, seeing that I could complete a loop by crossing another monstrous snow field. The vista views were glorious and stunning, the drops off the cliffs took my breath away, and I was taken back by the enormity of the snow fields this year particularly. I fast forwarded in my mind to seeing the melted snowfields replaced by fertile soil and mountain flowers. Going to be a good year for mountain flowers!
A panoramic 360 view, still no visual sign of an actual bobcat, only tracks, yet, God was on full display. It was hard to miss Him. After years of drought, he has filled again the mountain storehouses with snow. Majesty everywhere I looked. Brilliant white, wafting clouds, Mt Democrat and Mt Lincoln (14’ers) not far away jutting their praise to the sky, like arms raised to heaven. And this is where the bobcat has his home? Does the bobcat have any understanding of the brilliance around him as he traverses this terrain daily?
‘Thank you God,” I whispered to myself. I put out my arms up with hands open and began to laugh.
Before my descent, I dialed in I-tunes, shuffle mode, let the fun begin. The path down was extraordinary – a massive storehouse of snow over a mile long. As I’m descending, songs play at random – Indescribable… I Surrender All… You Make Beautiful Things… and I started running, laughing all the way. Once in a while, the joy of the Lord floods your soul, and now was the moment.
When I reached the car, my heart was glad. I didn’t see the bobcat that had crisscrossed my path all morning. But I did catch a glimpse of God. And that’s all that mattered. Maybe next time I will see the elusive bobcat…
This Sunday we welcome Pastor/Professor Ron Nydam to Crestview. Ron will be bringing a message about belonging from Ezekiel 16. Ron has spent a lifetime working with Adoptees and Adoption issues. He has written a book on it, and continues to engage in this work today.
This topic is particularly important to me, as I have been adopted. My core identity in Christ is understood through the lens of being adopted by God as his child. It’s made all the difference in the world for me. Welcome Ron!
To the King of the Mountain, Creator of storehouses of snow, and the one who adopted me as his child,