Several years ago, my husband and I took an awe-inspiring trip to Alaska, compliments of some very loving people. May I share with you in picture and in words some of the lessons from God’s creation and from Alaska that God showed me–about God’s character and ours?
Lessons from Alaska about God’s Character and Ours
1. The footprints of God’s faithfulness are everywhere. From beginning to end of any destination, you can track God’s creation, His character, and His creativity. I found this particularly true in Alaska.
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard (Psalm 19:1-2, NIV).
O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens (Psalm 8:1 NIV).
3. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. (James 5:16, NIV). God still cares about the details of our lives. And yes, God is still Jehovah Rapha, the God who heals.
The night before we left, I tripped over the garden edging while watering. Pain shot through my right foot in the exact place where I had fallen 8 years before while on a mission trip in Peru. An x-ray had shown a possible hairline fracture back then, but no follow-up was recommended. My husband prayed for me there in a small Peruvian ER, and I had no more problems with that foot the rest of the mission trip.
Back to my fall in the garden. The pain from the garden fall left, and I didn’t think too much more about it until we had finished packing our bags and had gone to bed. About 1:00 a.m., I awoke from incessant tossing and turning. And then I realized why. My foot was throbbing. When I finally got up and tried to walk on it, I had to hobble to the living room. I applied ice to my foot, then settled down on the couch. The ice helped briefly, but an hour later I tried to get up again, still unable to sleep. This time I couldn’t stand at all. The pain was excruciating.
My initial thought? “It’s broken!” So I prayed on and off for several hours, asking for God’s healing. I fought conflicting visons of having to cancel the trip entirely, or being wheeled around to every port on the cruise and throughout the ship. Forget hiking even on a short walk or trying to do our river float trip.
Daylight finally dawned with no sleep and no improvement, my foot still throbbing. I knew it was time to get to ER for an x-ray. My husband couldn’t hear my “help” cries, so I managed to drag myself back to the bedroom, where he was just getting up. Just like in Peru, he prayed the desire of our hearts, asking fervently for God’s intervention, then leaving the outcome to God. We iced my foot again.
A few minutes later, I tried to stand up briefly to get something just beyond my reach. No pain. Carefully, slowly, I began to take a few steps. Nothing. No pain. No soreness. And no explanation–except God chose to heal it and answer our simple cry.
And while I re-learned this lesson about the God Who Heals here in Texas, not Alaska, I had no soreness or foot problems the rest of the trip. And we probably walked an average of 3-5 miles a day. PTL!
4. Occasional sabbaticals from technology (especially computers and phones) are beneficial.
He leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul (Psalm 23:2-3 NIV).
A 12-day break refreshed our spirits and sharpened our focus on simple things, especially on the attributes of God and His creation. Breaks from social media can lessen our subtle desires for affirmation and accomplishment, because no matter how hard we try to avoid that, those temptations do creep in. (We did manage to see one of the Mavericks’ basketball games while away, however. Go, Mavs!) Oops! Sorry about that interruption. 🙂
A gentle and jovial soul, he walked out of the woods and took his place on the end of a huge log, just as we floated by. We paused long enough to listen to his entertaining and original banjo tunes. Then he exited the same way. Our guide told us this musician appeared one day and started crooning his tunes to the river floaters only a couple of times of day–just because he wanted to help people enjoy their ride. No one pays him, though the rafting company (of its own accord) does leave a tip jar for him inside their store.
Anyone Need a Summer Job?
God uses people everywhere. Whether we’re on a mission trip, or just “on mission” for God wherever we go, we can testify to the goodness and greatness of God. Without exception on our entire trip, no one argued with us as we admired God’s creation and declared outloud reverently, “God sure makes beautiful stuff, doesn’t He?”
By the way, whether you’re a teen or a senior, or somewhere in between, opportunities are available for you to work and serve in places like Denali State Park in Alaska. In fact, someone told us they were eager to employ “mature” summer workers. Whether you volunteer in soup kitchens, teach overseas, or work in summer resort areas, God will use your creative talents to honor Him.
By the length of this blog, I can see a part two is necessary. So, stay tuned for next week’s blog and “Lessons from Alaska–about God’s Character and Ours” – Part Two.
What about you? Where have you seen God at work? In what places have you seen the majesty of God’s creation?