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Archive for January, 2009

AWAY FROM THE STORM

Only a few hours earlier the two other men and I, each on a snow machine, had been making all kinds of designs in the deep, soft powder snow as we swept first one way and then another, back and forth over the small mountain meadow we had come upon. As I sped across the smooth, unbroken expanse of glistening snow I was filled with a feeling of exhilaration as the fine, icy crystals assaulted my face. It was one of those days when it is great to be outdoors in midwinter, the cares of the regular workday world left behind for a time, simply enjoying the fascinating scenes of winter in the depths of the mountain wilderness. The sun had been shining from a deep blue sky with occasional white, puffy clouds drifting overhead. But, that had been a few hours earlier. Things had changed.

Now we found ourselves far out on a harsh, winds-wept ridge top, attempting to reach a Forest Service fire lookout tower located high on a rocky bluff. The sun was gone now, blotted out by dark, gray foreboding clouds. The wind was blowing hard and showed no sign of letting up. The deep, soft powered snow we had been cavorting around in earlier was gone and we found this stormy ridge top blown completely bare of snow in many places, causing us to travel slowly and cautiously, watching the trail carefully to avoid the many rocks along the way. This was really cold and miserable! It was not what we would call in the category of “fun”!

The lookout tower finally came into sight ahead of us but it seemed as if it took much longer than it should have to reach it, the cold, biting wind ripping across our faces as we painstakingly made our way along the rocky trail. We finally pulled up next to the building, our heads tucked down trying to give our faces some protection from the force of the gale blowing across the rocky point. A door on one side of the building was unlocked and within moments the three of us had stepped inside, closed the door behind us, and were removing our gloves, blowing into our cold hands in an attempt to warm them.

We were tired and it was past lunch time. We each found a place to sit and brought out the cold sandwiches we had prepared early that morning before leaving the cabin and began gulp them down as the wind shrieked and moaned around the small building. Hot coffee poured from a thermos soon sent three twisting columns of steam upwards from the metal cups we held. It seemed as if this were the one comforting thing present in this harsh environment we were in. All too soon it was time for us to leave the meager shelter afforded by the fire lookout, stepping out into the biting winter wind to find our way off the mountain top.

Many times our lives can be compared to that day which the other two men and I experienced. We were having a great time in the morning when we were in that meadow in the deep powder snow with the sun shining brightly down upon us. Yet, only hours later, we were on a cold, wind-swept, uninviting mountain top which, if not treated with respect, could actually become a killer. The interior of the unheated lookout offered only a brief respite from the wind. It was still cold and uncomfortable. We could not have afforded to stay there long. We wanted to get away from the storm and into the peacefulness down off the mountain. We looked forward to the warmth of the cabin we had left early that morning.

In the Old Testament, in Psalm 107, the writer is speaking of men out on the seas in the midst of storms. But, the storm may be anywhere or at any point in our lives. Beginning in verse 27 we read, “. . . . . they were at their wits’ end. Then they cried out to the lord in their trouble and he brought them out of their distress. He stilled the storm to a whisper . . . . .”

God does that in our lives if we allow Him to.

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