This is Natural Bridge in Makoshika State Park, Montana. The bridge is near the center of the photo. It is fairly easy to see from this viewpoint, but was hard to see clearly from anywhere else along this trail.
“O give thanks to the Lord who is good, whose faithful love endures forever.” Let the redeemed of the Lord say this, those redeemed from the hand of the foe, and gathered from far-off lands, from east and west, north and south. They wandered in a barren desert, finding no way to a city they could dwell in. Hungry they were and thirsty; their soul was fainting within them. Then they cried to the Lord in their need, and God rescued them from their distress, guiding them along a straight path, to reach a city they could dwell in. Let them give thanks for the love of the Lord, such wonders for the human race: God satisfies the thirsty soul, and fills the hungry with good things. Psalms 107:1-8
(Photo: White Sands NP)
This is a photo of the Oxbow Overlook in Theodore Roosevelt National Park. An oxbow is an U-shaped bend in a river or a curved lake left as a remnant when the loop gets cut off from the narrow part of the bend. The Little Missouri River actually does a double bend here, with the river doing a complete 270 degree turn within the width of this photo.
I have been reflecting this past week on how it’s hard to know where life’s twists and turns are taking us. I heard a recent podcast that talked about the mistake of committing to a decision and being unwilling to change course, even when events make it clear a change of course is needed. Although many of the examples were from the corporate world, it applies as much (or more) to our personal decisions.
I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall be always in my mouth. My soul will glory in the Lord; let the poor hear and be glad. Magnify the Lord with me; and let us exalt his name together. I sought the Lord, and he answered me, delivered me from all my fears. Look to him and be radiant, and your faces may not blush for shame. This poor one cried out and the Lord heard, and from all his distress he saved him. The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he saves them. Psalms 34:2-8
(Photo: Wind Canyon, Theodore Roosevelt NP)
This is another photo from the top of Buck Hill in Theodore Roosevelt NP. As I was wondering around, I saw all of these stones stacked into cairns. Cairns usually function as markers of the direction to follow a trail. In this case, they were just the result of people having fun stacking stones.
Discernment involves recognizing signs God has placed in our life and distinquishing them from the (not so random) distractions.
These are the Cannonball Concretions in the North Unit of Theodore Roosevelt NP. How could you miss seeing these rock formations, which were not more than 100 yards from the main road driving in? We did, at least on our first pass by. We were looking for the picnic area, which was on the other side of the road.
People are easily distracted, which is one reason why it is important to be intentional in our daily lives.
This is the Wind Canyon in Theodore Roosevelt NP. It is near the Little Missouri River, but was actually formed by erosion from wind and rain rather than the river. This makes me think of how God appeared to Elijah (1 Kings 19:11-12) – not in the strong and violent wind (or earthquake, or fire) but in a light silent sound.
We often expect to see God in large and dramatic ways. Seeing God in all things also means looking for God in the small and common things that we encounter.
Lord, you have probed me and you know me;
you know when I sit and when I stand;
you understand my thoughts from afar.
My journeys and my rest you scrutinize,
with all my ways you are familiar.
(Photo: Medora, ND)
This photo was taken from Buck Hill in Theodore Roosevelt NP. It was a fairly short climb, and we decided to eat lunch overlooking this view. Even though we really weren’t at high, it was definitely an “on top of the world” experience. For some perspective, there is a bison laying down just to the left of the center of the photo.
This was an experience that made me ponder the goodness of God.
This is a photo from the Coal Vein Trail in Theodore Roosevelt NP. In this area there was a 12-foot-thick coal vein deep underground. In 1951 it caught fire and burned for 26 years. As it burned away, the rocks above were left unsupported and the surface collapsed, forming a depression. When the underground coal fire was burning, this area looked more like a wasteland than a grassland. After the fire burned out, prairie plants reclaimed the land slowly over time.
What does it mean to see as God see? Looking at a burned out field and seeing verdant green.