The above photo was taken from one of my favorite places in the world to go away and get alone. I made countless trips up that mountain during my 20's to push my "reset button". When life would head sideways, I would climb into my little red car to wind my way up the curvy road as George Winston's music filled my soul. Sometimes I would take a picnic with friends, others were just for me to breathe in fresh air to clear the confusion from my mind. Many times it was my sanctuary. It was a place I could count on hearing from God.
Sadly, on my last visit, (it had been about 20 years) I discovered that a fire had wiped out the entire mountain the year before. It was already growing back but would never be the same.
Wildfires have a way of changing the landscape in irrevocable ways but that isn't all bad. Oftentimes the underbrush becomes so thick that new growth can't survive. When a fire occurs, it cleans out dead brush, allowing for sprouts of newness to grow up and become strong. There is no doubt that in the process, the landscape changes forever. Along with the loss comes life and a chance for a fresh start.
Aren't our lives that way? Don't we all have things in our lives that feel it is just too hot? Some experiences are even "fiery trials" that make us feel as we will never survive. These are the times when we find shelter in an all knowing God who continues to be strengthen and freshen us. All the time we feel as if we are being destroyed. Survival seems doubtful. Any hope of quality seems to be demolished but that isn't the whole story.
That is the blessing I am counting today. Trusting His heart for me. No matter what the trials are, I will continue to seek the one who pours Himself out for me. When I am parched, I'll let His Living Water quench my thirsty soul. Although my landscape will change, what grows back will be healthy, vibrant and lush. My desire is that I will be a place of quiet rest. My heart will be ready to rejuvenate others and my life will be used of God to create a place to find His refuge.
(NOTE: This is my Jubilee year. Scripture speaks of this year as a time for restoration and debts to be cancelled. I see it as a time to reflect and to count my blessings. Knowing how precious life is and how miraculous it is, I want to write about His goodness.)