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.