The warm leather cover felt soft to my fingers as I flipped through pages edged in gold looking for something, looking for everything. Such a busy summer and I needed time, more than a passing moment, to spend in God’s holy inspired “word!” I read for a long while (first listening, finally speaking non-verbally through emotions, peace, and contentment), then rested my head against the chair back, and the recent memories flooded in on waves of praise, thankfulness, and laughter!
It was a very long and extremely hot summer; the heat was dry, and it almost seared my nostrils when I inhaled. This kind of heat can be wearing on the body as well as the spirit, if you let it, and there were times when I let it. So, longing for the cool breezes from the mountains, I thrilled when it was time to go on my annual mission trip to Oneida, Kentucky to the Christian school nestled among the ridges and hollows of Appalachia.
The views of blues, greens, and every shade in between were refreshing to my eyes, and spirit. There is nothing like the call of the mountains to get your attention and have your soul inspired well by the maker of such beauty, as you give Him glory.
I saw more sun sets than rises; the deep red-orange orb (strafed with fast moving wispy low hanging clouds) languidly strolled toward a high horizon held in place by towering ancient trees gracing the steep ridges. When the sun arose in the mornings it was often shrouded in thick mountain mist that would slowly burn toward the heavens, at noon it was straight above us, and then in the evening as it settled for the night, we could fix the direction… west. Most of the time we only knew the direction of up or down.
One evening after supper we (other ladies on mission) thought we would take a drive through the Daniel Boone Forest area to visit Buckhorn Lake, as it was only 27 miles away. In the little town of Buckhorn, where we arrived after an hour on a snake track road, we saw a historic, beautiful log church.
Soon thereafter, we arrived at the lake and experienced another glorious sunset as it splashed its splendor all over the heavens, reflecting in the water and on our faces. My thoughts turned to our heavenly Father who loves us so, and arranges such pleasure to draw us to Him, the Creator.
Going against all logic and advice, the journey back to our lodgings became “a trip,” and one I am not yet competent enough to speak of in a sane way, suffice to say we had been warned to stay off of this type road, but hey, this was a short cut. We decided to venture on it because the GPS said so; it directed us this way… at first.
Here is just a glimpse of what we experienced; after a while, the formerly beautiful evening became suddenly pitch black, and the blacktop road ate up our headlamps. At some point, we came upon a sign that said, “one lane road ahead!” Now we had no option but to go forward ~ no shoulders, no place to turn, sheer drop offs, and no doubt there were creatures lurking in the woods all around us.
A couple of times we did come upon homestead-like dwellings, they each had four or more security lights scattered around. My friend said, “They want to feel safe in their homes on this lonely road.” “No!” I replied “They want to see the revenuers when they come, and I am sure each place has called ahead up the mountain to warn the ‘others’ there is a white church van headed toward you; it could be the law!” My voice was drowned out by the shrieks of some, and “Forge on!” by others. It seems we’re not your typical little ole’ ladies on a sight-seeing trip!
So, onward we went; about that time, the GPS went crazy. “Turn left!” Shouted the husky, sexy female phantom; we couldn’t get the van navigator to change the voice; she didn’t know how. And we couldn’t turn; there was no other road only the sharp 90 deg. curves we had to take. Then “she” (the GPS) began to shout, “Stop, turn around, go back, turn right, turn left, make a u-turn!”
We assumed the satellite lost our road and “she” thought we were driving off the side of the mountain! Our fearless driver turned her off, and screeched to a stop (with the whole bunch of us yelling), “No! Don’t stop!” She did.
Out of the night-time mist strode a mountain man, and with all the politeness (and more) of a “city slicker”, he gave us clear and precise directions of how to get out of here, and we did! Near the end of the road, we saw a little church, “Rock Bottom Baptist Church”, hanging onto the side of the mountain and that gave us a great sense of security.”
Back safe and sound within the guest house, we each gave personal thanks for the rescue God performed as we traveled on the edge (literally) of our world. With thankful hearts, we prepared for another day of work in this glorious spot, with these great and friendly Christian people. Leave-taking was bittersweet, but we left knowing we would return next year; the mountains would wait for us, and maybe, we would find another adventure lurking there.
I had been flipping back and forth a couple of dog-eared pages during this time of reverie, but the words on one page caught my attention, and once more I stopped to read…
A white-tailed deer drinks from the creek; I want to drink God, deep draughts of God. I’m thirsty for God-alive.
I wonder, “Will I ever make it ~ arrive and drink in God’s presence?”
I’m on a diet of tears ~ tears for breakfast, tears for supper.
All day long people knock at my door,
Pestering, “Where is this God of yours?”
A pang clutched my heart as I agreed with the psalmist, and deep within my soul, I longed for His presence to refresh me, and quench my thirst with only Himself. “Ah, are You there Father?” A thought revealed itself to me; I am drawn to worship through the beautiful nature He created for us, which in itself is wonderful. However, the form of my worship must be molded by His word, or I could take a wrong direction, and nature could become a distraction; I may begin to adore the creation rather than the creator.
Beauty does draw my heart toward Almighty God, but the “Word” and the gospel of Christ confirms the object of my adoration, and directs my desire to know Him and live in His beautiful presence; He is my true and full inspiration, my desire, and by that may many people know where He is ~ He is in the heart of me.
P.S. I will share; He may be in your heart too!
[Editor’s note: this piece was first published here Sept. 12, 2012]