Page 21 has been a full day, although not exactly what I would call a busy day. Representing the prayer ministry at conferences always makes me some strange mix of excited, nervous, and anxious. Excited because I get to share with people what I believe are incredibly useful tools that God has graciously gifted me with the ability to produce. Nervous because it means I am interacting with people and I have to trust God to carry me through my fear of people. Anxious because I worry far too much about what people will think about the books I have written and the ministry God has called me to do.
Anyhow, that mix of feelings has led to some restless nights and last night was another one of them. I was up early so I finished packing the things I will need and hit the road to begin my journey to the Christian Camp Leaders Conference. About an hour into the drive, the sun began to light up the eastern horizon in a way that I haven’t seen for nearly a week. Not that the sunrise was more extra-ordinary than usual, just that we’ve been under such heavy cloud cover that there hasn’t been a visible sunrise for a while. I stopped along the road to take a few pictures, but knew I had to keep moving if I wanted to reach my destination at a reasonable time.
The beauty of the sunrise disappeared quickly as the cloud cover returned and remained through much of the day. As I neared my destination, the sun finally began to break through the clouds again and as I fought with the glare through the windshield, I realized how helpful the clouds had been all day. After checking into the hotel, I drove into the park to try to catch a sunset from the mountains. While it sounds like a good plan, mountains tend to make sunsets difficult to capture as the sun often disappears behind a mountain peak long before it actually sets. On the way, I went through a lot of the area where fire had swept through the hills late last fall. Today’s photo is of a hillside that had been burnt with the ground the trees are growing on remaining bare. Much of the areas that are not so densely shaded have vibrant green growth that hides the evidence of the ash underneath. Even with the noticeable fire damage, the beauty of the mountains is breathtaking.
As I reflect on the day, here are some thoughts/lessons that stand out to me:
- At least for me, many emotions are closer to each other than one might initially think they would be.
- Identifying the emotions we are feeling, and the reasons why we are experiencing them, can be helpful in our mastering them rather than them mastering us.
- The way things make us feel doesn’t catch God by surprise. Even the way we react to our feelings doesn’t surprise Him but if we go to Him with them first, He may have a response for us to choose that is better than our initial reaction would be. (Be angry, but do not sin.)
- God often gives us things that we don’t know we need and since we weren’t looking for them, our gratitude isn’t what it should be. (I didn’t know the cloudy day was actually a benefit until they went away and I had to fight the glare for the last part of my drive. I thanked God for the clouds.)
- We may feel like we have crashed and burned in life but God has the ability to cause new growth to rise up through the ashes.