Waiting…again

Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord…

Stillness does not come easy for me.  I find myself in another season of waiting, this time for a phone call from my physician. My mind is full of jumbled thoughts.  In the grips of apprehension escape to find time alone with the Lord becomes a priority.

Less than a quarter mile north of Roosevelt National Forest on Hwy 34 E lies a piece of real estate heaven called Dripping Springs Inn.  Without question the entire Estes Park, CO, area is extraordinarily scenic.  Yet something about this particular mountain retreat calls my heart to return again and again when solitude is beckoning. 

Dripping Springs is a quaint collection of small cottages and a B & B snuggled up to the Big Thompson River. Arriving  at the break of dawn, this place is as sleepy as I am. 

I’ve been coming here for years and it has never appeared more inviting.  Only a few short steps down a concrete stairway and I am immersed in woods.  A small walking trail outlined by rocks on each side follows the river.

Fire pits encircled by outdoor chairs dot the landscape and my mind’s eye envisions last night’s guests warming themselves in the cool mountain evening as they swapped life stories.  Small canopies will partner with ample aspen and prolific pine trees to offer shade in the afternoon.  Further on down the trail a wheel barrow rests against an old shed. 

 

Backing up to the river, a wooden platform with its tall, white wrought iron arch conjures up images of a blissful bride and groom exchanging vows.  

At last my eyes land on my favorite spot in this idyllic hideaway…an oversized hammock dangling between two aspen.  Over the years God has cradled me here as I penned numerous private thoughts, praying countless prayers for wisdom on various issues confounding my senses.  Here, too Scripture has often come alive for me as I incline my ear to hear from the Lord.

I sprawl into the swaying paradise and begin to sing praises in competition with raucous waves .  The Thompson is raging with waters higher than I have observed in 20 years.  As the river races furiously downstream, mud and silt paint the surface a copper hue crowned with white foam.  Swirling, crashing into boulders at a frantic pace, water bounces into the air and explodes like liquid fireworks.  The sight brought laughter and feeble attempts to photograph the elusive spray.

I wondered audibly, “God, why is wisdom so often this elusive to me?”  In the midst of the river’s thunderous roar I heard His silent reply, “Wisdom danced with me before waves were ever formed, before the foundations of earth were laid.  Wisdom is mine to give and it’s plentiful but it is not for those who utter a casual request.  Wisdom belongs to those who earnestly seek me.”

Recently I spoke to a group of single women about the necessity of waiting on God.  Today I groan over how long I’ve gone without a purposeful retreat alone with my Lord, to quietly wait on Him, seek Him, and hear from Him. 

The morning sun peeks down the canyon walls and smiles on my face as I read God’s Word,   

“You make me glad by your deeds, oh Lord.  I sing for joy at the work of your hands.” Psalm 92:4

 “Let the rivers clap their hands, let the mountains sing together for JOY” Psalm 98:8

“Praise the Lord, O my soul, all my inmost being praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, O my soul and forget not his benefits.  Who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” Psalm 103:1-5 

Reaching into a folder for paper to jot down my thoughts I came across notes from my earlier talk to the singles… “my two least favorite words paired together? ‘Waiting patiently’.  I’m not good at it, never have been.”

Jesus beckons me to wait on God.  All through his earthly journey He exemplified the importance of withdrawing for time alone with the Father.  Christ’s final act of obedience before his arrest leading to his crucifixion involved a time of waiting in the Garden.  Friends had accompanied him but ultimately He waited alone while they slumbered.  It was in the waiting, seeking, praying, that He mounted up strength to face his destiny at Calvary.  To have approached the Cross without a time of waiting before God, would have meant to forgo the strength required to endure eminent suffering.

Christ’s example compels me.  His invitation is not to be missed.  He says, “Come to the Garden of waiting and find strength for whatever lies ahead.”

None of us know what tomorrow holds.  If we have been a follower of Christ for any length of time we know that this path we walk is not always smooth.  Yet in moments alone with Him, earnestly seeking, expectantly waiting, Christ re-emerges as the sole longing of our hearts.  In the process, He speaks and our path supernaturally becomes level again.

“The path of the righteous is level. O upright one, you make the way of the righteous smooth.  Yes Lord, walking in your ways, we wait for you.  Your name and renown are the desires of our hearts.  My soul yearns for you in the night; in the morning my spirit longs for you.” Isaiah 26:8-9

About Face

“The light of the day is sweet, and pleasant to the eye is the sight of the sun…” Ecc. 11:7

 

Sometimes God takes us in a different direction than where we are headed…if we’re open to it, this “about face” can bring unexpected joys.

 

My get away plans were to explore the Grand Tetons of Wyoming…camping, scenic drives, singing out under the stars.  I made it into southern Wyoming before having a sudden epiphany of “this is not where I’m supposed to be” and turning the car around.  I’ve been coming to Estes Park & Rocky Mountain National Park for over 20 years.  It is my second favorite place on the planet and one of only 2 places I’ve ever found myself able to sleep without ear plugs.  God bless the individual who invented the sleep machine—that gadget that simulates nature sounds.  But it is certainly no match for God’s Sleep Machine—a raging river after a season of hard rains. Nightly the Big Thompson River sings its lullaby and I obediently succumb to its charm after a hard day of hiking and climbing and exploring God’s glorious creation.   The trails here are often strenuous but the vistas make it all worthwhile.  One of my favorites is a mountain range called “Never Summer”…couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw tourists having snowball fights in the middle of  July! 

 

 

 

The view from my campsite is serene…mere inches from the river, I study the waves downstream.  I’m witnessing the sun coming up over the waters, sunlight glistening on dancing waves as the river sings its roaring song.  And just as morning light begins to cascade down the rock wall to the north, birds join in the chorus while thousands of aspen leaves wildly applaud.  The sky is as bright and blue as a Swedish child’s eyes.  A fly fisherman enjoys his solitude methodically  casting & stripping in his line.  He makes his way upstream and shoots me a smile as we share this secret of tranquility.  It’s the deepest human interaction I’ve experienced in days. 

 

I came with Bible in hand and prayers on my lips.  And though my world is in a bit of God-ordained chaos right now, there are no questions weighing heavy on my heart at this moment.  Rather, there is a fixed sense of serenity and awe at the wonder and majesty of the One who created this scene, the One who set the stage making it possible for me to be in His audience this morning.

 

“I know that whatever God does lasts forever; to add to it or subtract from it is impossible.  And He has done it all in such a way that men must feel awe in His presence.”  Ecc. 3:14