I am sitting in a coffeehouse in Bellingham, Washington. The morning air is just crisp enough to hint of autumn’s arrival and the sky is a celebration blue. This charming town is kind enough to welcome my somber spirit. My journal, Oswald Chambers, and WOODS coffee fill up the tall round table before me. In spite of caffeine chatter, I am secluded on my solid wooden bench.
Five weeks of travel across the United States has been a journey of wonders. Mile upon mile, state to state, the grandeur of God’s creation in rocks, rivers, mountains, and endless horizons of golden fields or sapphire sea, has left me in awe of what He has done. Time has not daunted the power of God.
Yet it seems as if time has stopped for those back home who are battle worn from storms, sickness, and grief. While I marvel at what God has made, my loved ones are struggling to pull together the blessed normalcy of fresh water, a full tank of gas, or a peaceful night’s rest. How can we behold a mountain one moment and the rubble of reality the next?
I am grateful for this coffeehouse right now. I can’t look at beauty without crying. Oh God. Won’t You please bring even a splinter of Your splendor to the weary war-torn ones back home? Please give them a ribbon to hold on to. We all need Your mercy and goodness right now.
In between sips of rich coffee, I pick up my phone and flip through my photos. These are golden nuggets of times past – a story of my travels through God’s Glory. Here is a picture of a tree stump. It was just the day before when we traipsed through Whatcom Park, a forest of mighty trees, gushing rivers, and a rushing waterfall. We were ensconced in ageless woodland where the silence was broken only by the flicker of a falling leaf and splashing water in a crevice somewhere. The massive trees formed an arbor and became for me a sanctuary.
How long had those trees withstood storms, fires, blight, and invasion? God’s faithfulness was in their shadow and I heard the Whisper, “I am here. I am there. I am in the seed, branch, leaf, and forest. The battle has not been lost.”
What was it that made me stop to take a picture of a stump in the middle of towering trees? It was thriving, this massive trunk now covered in moss, ferns, and wispy branches. Rays of sunlight wove their way around the forest to rest on the fertile bark. How the great tree was felled is a mystery forgotten and unimportant. What stands now is an everlasting story of fortitude, nourishment, and roots pressing deep, deep into its source of life.
The hardest battle comes in its aftermath. Floodwaters, fire blaze, windstorm, and crushing cancer seek to destroy but cannot alter the foundation.
As with the stalwart stump, though it takes time and unknown reserves of energy, the rebuilding and renewal comes – and is miraculous. The Son will always make His way to shine on the warriors as they find their strong hope and restore the faith that never left. He will bring from the destruction new life, never before imagined. It will be as beautiful and bold as a slim and sturdy branch on the stump of a fallen tree, reaching for the sunlight resting upon its new branches.
All of God’s creation cries out above the forces of life and nature –“Be still! Know that I am God. …and I will make a new thing!”
My coffee drained, I close Chamber’s Devotional, and put away the journal and pen. A stranger smiles and opens the door as I pass through. I want to hug him and tell him how much he is loved …forever. Just like all of us.