Saturday, December 5, 2009

Miracle in San Miguel Canyon

I get to drive a lot of miles with my work, and yesterday was one of those days.   I had to travel to Blanding, UT.  On the way back I decided to stop in San Miguel Canyon to take a few pictures.  It was very cold and the river was partially frozen.  It was an ideal opportunity to get a few photos.  There are several spots along the canyon that I like to stop at....but I chose a spot on a curve where the canyon is pretty narrow and the river is not as spread out as it is in other places.  At this spot the spring runoff over the years has cut into the bank.  There is one spot along the bank to get down to the water.  In other places on this corner the bank is about a six foot drop to the edge of the river.  The river is lower now, so once you're down over the bank you can walk along the edge. Upstream  I saw a couple of mounds of ice in the middle where the water was flowing between looked like a great spot to take a photo with a slow shutter to blur the water, but make the ice stand out.   But, to do so I would have to walk on the ice on the edge for about 20 feet to a large rock where I could rest against it for a steady shot.  The vertical bank was on my left and the river on my right.  This is a photo capture from a video clip that I took.

I was leaning on the large rock on the left.  Ice surrounds all of the rocks in the foreground.  So, getting to that rock was very slow as the ice was bumpy and quite slick.   I leaned over and steadied my self on the rocks as my feet were sliding around on the ice.  As I was taking the shot and trying to be as steady as possible I began to hear a rumble coming down the canyon.  I thought that it must be a large truck...possibly one of the trucks that haul drilling rigs in the area.  It got louder and I again thought it was very unusual that it was so loud.  But, I didn't pay a lot of attention as I was trying to be very steady.  However, I was somewhat annoyed when I began to feel the ice I was standing on vibrate.  I could only see around the corner about 30-40 yards as I glanced up the river.   I could not believe what I saw.  Rapidly coming my way was a wave of water that was about three feet high or more.  It was full of large chunks of ice and logs and debris.  Though it seemed like slow motion; in a split second I turned and headed for the spot where I could get up the bank.  Slipping and falling definitely fled through my mind.  As I went by a tree root sticking out of the bank I briefly thought about grabbing it and holding on; in hopes that I would not get pulled downstream.  There was no question that the area I was in would soon be under water.  I still have no logical idea how I got across that ice so fast and did not fall down.  I know this will sound like an exaggeration,  but it was so fast and unbelievable that I felt like I was carried.  Just as I got up the bank the water fled by under my feet - and I didn't even get wet.  As I stood there shaking, I took a few clips of video.  Here is a still shot from the video of the scene as the flash flood went by...

 The rock that I was leaning on for the photo was now under water.  With the ice, logs, and the cold of the water; there is no way that I could have survived "going with the flow".  All I could think of was, "For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways;  they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone."  Psalm 91:11-12.

As I got back in my car and headed out on the road up the canyon I was thanking and praising the Lord for what I thought was a miraculous rescue.   When I settled down a bit; I turned on the radio to the only Christian station you can get in the canyon and immediately when the radio came on the announcer was reading these words from Isaiah 43:  "Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine!   "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you.....   He went on to read the rest of that passage; but I was so overwhelmed that I did not pay much attention to it.  I broke down and wept thinking what a wonderful God we serve.  How can you not love a God like that?

The photo that almost cost me my life did not turn out to be special in anyone else's eyes - but it will always be special to me.....

                                                          THANK YOU LORD!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Rise Above It All

This photo has a special memory for me.  I was on a backpacking trip in 2006 to Lamphier Lake in the Fossil Ridge Wilderness of Colorado.  In fact, it was a church men's backpacking retreat.  We arrived on a Friday.  It rained some on Friday night, but the sky opened up in a Noah-like deluge on Saturday.  I felt like a prisoner in my small backpacking tent.  All afternoon long it rained, with very brief interludes where it would tease us by stopping for what seemed like only seconds.  When the thunder and lightning would relent; I slept and prayed and prayed some more.  In my small tent there was no room to read; or even sit up comfortably.  As the day wore on, so did my patience.  It seemed like the day would never end.  Finally in the evening, about an hour or two before sunset, the rain became only a drizzle.  I'd had enough of that tent and decided I would put on my rain gear and get out and roam the rain if need be.  The thunder and lightning had stopped, but the whole area was in a milky dark fog.  I decided to climb up the mountain next to our camp.  Earlier we had seen and heard the mountain sheep walking around way up the mountain side.  Occasionally they would knock a rock loose that would come tumbling down the mountain.  So, I ventured out alone...which looking back was probably not the most intelligent thing to do - I knew better.

As I climbed I finally began to warm up.  The going was slow due to the fog.   However, the higher I climbed, the lighter the area around me became.  After and hour or so, I finally walked out into the view above.  I was above the clouds and the sun was actually shining on the surrounding peaks.  Our camp below was still shrouded in the fog and darkness.  I shot a few pictures and knew I had to get off the mountain before dark.  So, I reluctantly returned to camp.  However, my mood was lifted and I felt revived.

The lesson I learned was nothing new, but profoundly close to home on that day.  Unfortunately, our sin has ruined this world.  Sure, revival fires have broken out throughout history in various places.  But, the muck and mire and darkness still prevail in a big way.  However, for God's children, there is always opportunity to rise above it and gasp as we see things from His perspective.  We can't live up there, until we leave this world and reach our heavenly home.  But, even a glimpse can make all the difference.  In the Spirit we can soar on eagle's wings and rise above whatever circumstance seems to imprison us.  We're told in scripture to fix our eyes on Jesus and keep looking up - that's the only way we can maintain our perspective and bear fruit for the kingdom.  We just remind ourselves like Paul - For me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.  If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know!  I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far... Phil.  1:21-23.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.  Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.  There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.  Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.  Psalm 19:1-4

My first entry into the blogging realm.  This is one of my favorite sections of scripture.  All of creation is speaking of God's grandeur, power, etc.  Aha, ooh, aah are universal utterances that span all languages.  Just view a beautiful sunset....see a towering mountain peak in alpenglow.....look at the endless ocean get the picture.  Even in the midst of wars, political upheavals, economic downturns; God is still reaching out and trying to get the message of His love across to mankind.  To me, creation doesn't just speak.  Sometimes it shouts, sometimes it sings, sometimes it whispers.  But, the message is unmistakable - if we'll only listen!