Do you ever have times when you’re working as hard as you can, wheels are spinning, brain is whirring and you know you are getting nowhere? That was me last Saturday. Call me exhausted, burned out, useless.
My husband studied me as we had our early morning coffee. “Are you okay, Cyn?”
“No,” I told him. “Nothing’s going right. I’m tired. I have no energy. I feel terrible.”
He looked at me as he swallowed more coffee. Then he asked how long it would take before I’d be ready to go.
“Go where?” I asked.
“I know what you need. You need a day up on the Blue Ridge. Just you and me and God.”
I wasn’t sure I had the energy to take an all-day trip, but my husband prodded me. Near Charlottesville, we stopped for lunch and I began to feel a little better.
Back in the car, it wasn’t long before we were driving the ridge line of the Blue Ridge Mountains in northwestern Virginia. We’d never been there when the mountains were bare of foliage and I wasn’t so sure our drive would make me feel better with such bleakness surrounding us.
I offered to drive, but my husband said that it was I who most needed to see God’s creation. How does he know these things?
Without leaves and undergrowth blocking our vision, we saw small mountain streams tumbling over mossy rocks. We stopped at different lookouts and got out of the car. The spring blush covered the mountains and twice we heard the wind rustling from the peaks down through the passes on its way to the valley below. I sat on a rock and closed my eyes. This is how God speaks to those who will listen and recognize His presence. I wanted to sit on the rock for a long time, soaking in God. But, too soon, it was time to get back into our car and travel further down the mountains’ spine.
We saw where wind storms had toppled some trees while others still stood. The metaphor soothed my heart: storms will come and try to blow us down, but those who hope in the Lord will be left standing.
Further down the road, the unmistakable black charring of trees and rocks told of a recent fire. Amidst the devastation, life was peeking out here and there through the ground and on tree branches that were spared. Life’s fires scorch and burn us, but only God can use those flames to refine us. I needed to be reminded of this.
Several thousand feet above the valley, we rounded a curve and saw clouds so close we could almost touch them. I thought of the woman I know who insists there is no God. Has she never looked at clouds?
“Can you go home now?” my husband asked.
“Are you asking if I want to go home?”
“I’m asking if you can go home. Are you able to leave here and go home now?”
I understood. “Yes, I can go home now.” I smiled at him and he took my hand and kissed it.
Only God could have found such a man for me.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-5 (NIV 1984).
TO GOD BE THE GLORY
Cynthia Howerter © 2012
Photography: Cynthia Howerter © 2012