Saturday, April 23, 2011

Beauty in Treachery

“The Fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom.”
Something we’ve all heard but none of us really likes if we think about it too much. It kinda throws a monkey wrench in our loving, peaceful God picture. How is there room for our Psalm 23 God in this? Oh wait… What’s that line in Psalm 23?
“Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”
Aww, that’s nice, how do they comfort you?
Well, I know that one swing of the staff can crush the skill of an attacking wolf.
And I know that the rod is used to break the legs of wayward lambs so they will have to be carried for a time and learn to follow their shepherd. I suppose that’s a strange sort of comfort. A little scary too I have to admit.

One of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen is also one of the most dangerous. Alaskans often warn visitors, as they head out to experience the state, by saying,

“Be careful, this state is trying to kill you.”

But there is one particular area that will do it very quickly. The Alaska Range is a stretch of mountains over 500 miles long and nearly a hundred miles wide, which spans across the heart of Alaska and contains the tallest mountain in North America at 20,320ft. The craggy and near eternally snow covered peaks jut upward out of millions of tons of Ice. Glaciers that never melt, but as fast as they grow, they creep down toward the valleys giving birth to frigid torrents that tumble and fall down the steep slopes and cliffs to the valley below to join the river in its long journey to escape the mountains.
As I fly over the range, soaking in its breathtaking grandeur, I always ponder what would happen if the engines in this little plane suddenly quit…
If somehow we managed to dodge the rocky peaks on the way down and put the plane on a glacial slope, then managed to avoid the deep crevasses that offer a gaping invitation to the heart of the glacier, then the adventure would begin. We’re still a hundred miles from nowhere, perched on the frigid, barren mountainside.

Oddly, however, I find a strange sort of comfort as I soar over the wild and unforgiving terrain. Because, if rocks cry out, then these mountains scream the name of my God.

“I lift my eyes up, unto the mountains. Where does my help come from?
My help comes from YHWH who made the heavens and the earth.”

If the creator of all this is my refuge and strength, then what do I have to fear?

In the words of C.S. Lewis,

"He is not a tame lion."

Standing on Trimble Glacier looking up at the Alaska Range