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This weekend marks the second anniversary of my first Musing.  This weekend also marks the first anniversary of meeting my now husband.  Let me tell you, it has been an amazing and worthwhile journey over these last few years, filled with peaks and valleys, but always filled with God's presence.

 

Speaking of peaks and valleys, David and I just returned from our belated (thanks to Hurricane Rita) honeymoon where we spent several glorious days amid the Teton Mountains near Jackson, Wyoming.  What is it that makes the grandness of God shout so much louder when we're perched upon a mountain precipice, or dipping our toes in at ocean's edge, or measuring our stature against that of the mightiest forests of pine trees?  Why is it that the hues of Autumn's changing leaves, or the purity of new-fallen snow, or the crisp and blinding blackness of a winter night's sky grabs our attention and causes us to catch our breath in wonder and awe of God?

 

There is something about being in full awareness in nature that awakens in us the nature that we know as God.  These natural moments are frequently when we feel the very presence of God; for we are, after all, situated in the grandest of cathedrals-- Nature's reverent and holy cathedrals.

 

Have you paid attention to the Psalms?  They do emulate our lives today in so many ways.  What strikes me are the very peaks and valleys in the lives of the Psalmists.  They have days where God seems so distant; where life and the precarious situations they find themselves in feel so harsh; and they cry out to God in anguish to be saved from their wretched circumstances.  Ever feel like that?

 

And then, in my imaginings, I think they must have had "nature moments" -- moments when they were able to catch their breath, to recognize their place in the grandeur of Creation.  Here they must have felt God's presence and sang out their praises.  Take, for example, Psalm 104.  It begins:

Bless the Lord, O my soul. O Lord my God, you are very great.  You are clothed with honor and majesty, wrapped in light as with a garment.  You stretch out the heavens like a tent, you set the beams of your chambers on the waters, you make the clouds your chariot, you ride on the wings of the wind, you make the winds your messengers, fire and flame your ministers. (full text)

Or what about Psalm 65 which includes:

You visit the earth and water it, you greatly enrich it; the river of God is full of water; you provide the people with grain, for so you have prepared it.  You water its furrows abundantly, settling its ridges, softening it with showers, and blessing its growth . . . The pastures of the wilderness overflow, the hills gird themselves with joy, the meadows clothe themselves with flocks, the valleys deck themselves with grain, they shout and sing together for joy. (full text)

If we equate the peaks in our lives with our nature moments, those high points when we're overwhelmed by the Truth that is breathtakingly displayed in Creation, then we must also look to how our faith plays into our lives' valleys.  Just as with the Psalmists, our loving God hears our cries from the valley and graciously responds to us... are we listening for that response?

 

 

Having recently returned from a vacation in the land of peaks and valleys, I'm here to tell you that the beauty and wonder of God is as evidently present in the valleys as on the peaks.  It's simply a matter of our perspective.  Look around you.

 

Grace and peace to you as you journey.

Yours in Christ,  

~~Jennifer

11/16/05

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