Sitting here in Wonder Lake Campground, spot #20, waiting for the wind to shoo the clouds that hover over Denali, the highest mountain peak in North America, at over 20,000 feet in elevation, we tried to be patient. There is no agenda, no itinerary, no bus to catch, no appointment, no lists, no pressure. Just a strong desire to see the glory of God in one of the tallest mountains he has made. Yet, it hides among the clouds. Statistics tell us it’s like this 75% of the time. I keep looking up and try to imagine what it will look like. I am praying for God to miraculously blow the clouds away, and I believe he can.
It’s a frivolous request in the grand scheme of things that weigh in with importance. I have friends waiting and praying for much weightier things. A severed relationship that has left a family homeless. A job to provide enough money for the basics like housing and food. A life-long illness with chronic pain and fatigue. A life-altering injury that has stopped the ability to work, causing financial stress. A losing battle with cancer, waiting for the inevitable barring a miraculous healing. And I’m sitting here asking God for a view of a mountain. Seems trivial.
The crazy thing is that God’s resources and his power are inexhaustible. He doesn’t just save them up for the issues that matter most. We all matter to him and he knows and cares about the smallest details of our lives. Psalm 139 is the basis for that assurance.
Perhaps trusting him with the little things is what gives us faith and courage for the big things. I wonder why God doesn’t quickly move in power to heal cancer, provide a job, or to heal and restore a relationship more often. I’m sure my friends wonder the same. John Eldridge, in his book, Walking With God, sheds light on this. He says that God’s main purpose is our spiritual healing and restoration and that is what he is always working on. Often this is best accomplished through adversity and so we are told to “consider it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know what the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:2-4).
Julie, sitting beside me, just read Habakkuk 3:17-19 outloud. I realize it is for our strength and joy that God allows adversity. Habakkuk’s response to failed crops is rejoicing because, “the Sovereign Lord is my strength … he enables me to go on…”
So, in my waiting for a very trivial thing I remember my friends and I pray for their strength and rejoicing in God. Infuse them with hope, God, that only comes from walking with you, secure in your steadfast love and faithfulness. Enable them to go on. In your mercy, answer their prayers today so that you may be glorified and so many would see and hear and put their trust in you. Amen.
Later that afternoon I glanced up at Denali, the clouds had parted and we could see the brilliant snow covered peak. He did it! He answered our prayer and let us see his great glorious creation. It was magnificent. We thanked him and praised him for allowing us to see it, even if for just a few minutes.
[This is the first of a few blogs adapted from my journal during a 3-week sabbatical given to me by Trinity Church in June/July 2017.]
I too waited very near to where you did for Denali to show its glory and during the week camped there it did manage to peek through the clouds, that was 1995. In my travels around the state that summer I was taken by its people and wondrous beauty so much I did not leave for 20 years and only because of health reasons. During my 20 years there I was been moved by the many wonders the state has to offer and am still saddened to have left the state.. a state where around every bend one can see the handiwork of our Lord.
Pete, how crazy! I was there in 1995, probably sometime mid-July. I cycled through the state with a buddy for a month, from Deadhorse to Valdez, via Denali. You are so right about the beauty and how awesome that you became an Alaskan as a result.