It was our one and only backpacking trip. Even then it was cheater’s backpacking.
Eight of us were hiking into the Black Lake area of the eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains. There would be no other people anywhere around. No running water. No showers. Just each other, the lake full of the water we would purify to drink, and the beauty of God’s creation.
We were planning to stay for four days, so we opted to cheat. We paid to have donkeys carry in our gear and drop it at a prearranged location. We justified the need by pointing at the 8.3 mile hike in. It was strenuous, having over a 3,000 foot gain in elevation. And that didn’t even count the times we went downhill, only to have to go up that same elevation gain…again!
In reality though, we wanted to have chairs to sit in and something to eat other than freeze-dried food. And we weren’t in the kind of shape we needed to carry it all ourselves. Still, we were all sweating and fatigued when we arrived. I never appreciated a lawn chair as much as I did in that moment.
Set against the deep green of the pines, the lake was framed by a ridge reflecting snow from a small glacier. It was... stunningly beautiful. It was almost as if we didn’t need our Bibles there, because everything cried out the reality of God (Psalm 19:1-4). His peace shimmered on the water; the rustling of the trees in the breeze whispered His praise; the quiet was rich and heavy with His presence. I was cocooned in it, and never wanted to leave.
That night I had to crawl out of the tent, and happened to glance up.
Beneath the bright city lights back home the sky is dark and the stars are scattered pinpricks of light in the inky blackness of the night.
At 11,000 feet in elevation the night sky is absolutely ablaze with starry light, and there are only a few pinpricks of darkness peeking between.
It was a sight I will never forget, breathtaking in its beauty and completely unanticipated.
The memory of the two night skies, juxtaposed in my mind, has stuck with me. It pretty much pictures how I’ve visualized Jesus’ place in my life.
When I was young, seeing where Jesus fit in was hard. Life was full, and busy. I was involved in a lot of activities; family and school and band and friends. There were only a few places I could really see Him. Looking back, those were the pinpricks of light in my life.
Life has certainly changed that perspective!
Now, only where He is there is light, bringing clarity to what was once dark. In my mind, in my heart, in the deepest part of my soul. He not only brings light, He is light. He is what brings meaning to all of the rest, and nothing begins to make sense apart from Him. I can no longer even picture where He doesn’t fit.
When I look up, life is ablaze with His presence!
This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 1 John 1:4
- How has your perception of the Lord changed over the years?
- Where is there still darkness in your life?
- How would you bring it into the light?
Father, what You have created is lovely beyond words, but it nothing compared to the beauty of the light and the life You bring! You light up my soul, and all that is within me offers the praise You deserve.