Dave & Barb Bindewald

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Thoughts and Lessons from a Mountain Retreat

The beauty of God's creation is amazing to see, especially when you have time to stare at it and not be forced to hurry on to the next thing you have to do. As the hymnwriter said:

Come away from rush and hurry
to the stillness of God’s peace;
from our vain ambition’s worry,
come to Christ and find release.
Come away from noise and clamor,
life’s demands and frenzied pace;
come to join the people gathered
here to seek and find God’s face.

Moisture in the ground freezes and pushes up in little columns, and then gravity caused them all to tumble down a slope and pile up. These shards are only a few centimeters long, but still separate and distinct. In one quick movement of my eyes I can go from looking at the first sweeping view of the mountains to this. I am freshly aware of the vast scope of God's work in my life, from the big picture leading and guidance over the years to the smallest details.

The movement of the ice from below lifts up the dirt for me to see!

 The fungus of sin will grow on just about anything, even the most beautiful tree or rock. Sin upon sin, cascading down the length of our lives.

 But God's glory shines through and reminds us of his presence at every turn. I am not alone, I am forgiven, I am adopted, I am loved, I am free.

There is a road less traveled.

God delights in drawing straight lines with crooked sticks. If this is true, there is always hope.

Rock of ages cleft for me
Let me hide myself in Thee
Let the water and the blood
From thy riven side which flowed
Oh, be of sin the double cure
Cleanse me from its guilt and power

Another macro closeup shot of the tiniest of growth, with ice crystals all around. God continues to produce fruit no matter how cold I might feel!

Another reminder of God's sovereign leading and guidance across the fabric of our lives. I like to think this jet contrail is the evidence of someone headed to Japan!

Romans 1:16 "For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes." In my modern 21st century view of life I imagine Paul was thinking of dynamite when he said power, but he no more knew what dynamite was than I can imagine the next big thing in technology. Gospel power is more like this picture. How in the world did that plant push through a rock? I could try all day but never be able to jam a soft weak fragile plant into rock. This to me is a picture of God pressing faith and life into my cold stony heart and producing living fruit.

The heart is desperately wicked and evil; who can know it? Yet God also promises I will take their heart of stone and put within them a heart of flesh. Trees reaching skyward out of an impossibly intertwined mass of sin. Only God does these things!

Out of them will flow steams of living water.

Another macro shot reveals the tiniest of blossoms on the end of a Christmas tree branch. Never knew they were there. Even when I took the picture I didn't see them. I was looking at the pine sprigs. It wasn't until later when the pictures were downloaded and put on the screen did I see the blossoms. They are about the size of a BB! Another reminder of the ongoing often unseen work of God in my life. And it amazes me he does it even though I might not see it for years, or even ever on this earth.

One of my favorite Christmas hymns is Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming:

Lo, how a Rose e'er blooming from tender stem hath sprung!
Of Jesse's lineage coming, as men of old have sung.
It came, a floweret bright, amid the cold of winter,
When half spent was the night.

Isaiah 'twas foretold it, the Rose I have in mind;
Mary we behold it, the Virgin Mother kind.
To show God's love aright, she bore to us a Savior,
When half spent was the night.

 I love seeing these rhododendron buds just waiting to pop open. The older I get the more I see that God doesn't waste anything in his creation. It isn't random; it all points to spiritual truth of some kind. I think that is what was happening at creation when God said after finishing it that "It was good."

Other times the fruit is obvious and low-hanging on the tree.

The woman at the well said to Jesus, "Sir, give me this water that I might never thirst again."

I had to get off the road and walk down through some brush and briars to see this, but it was worth it. Cars drive over the stone overpass without ever knowing what this looks and sounds like.

What is it about water like this that draws us to it? Here it reflects the sun and reminded me of my need to reflect Christ. I'm first drawn to him and in the process of drinking and savoring I hope I reflect the Son of Righteousness.

Can you tell I like macros?  :-)  The bark of the tree comes off slowly in layers. I need the ongoing work of Christ's Spirit of Adoption to lovingly show the dark shadows below.

There's a huge rock under this carpet of moss. I'm so glad I'm covered!

And another macro, this one straining the limits of the camera lens. These little buds of growth are on a rock well off the beaten path. They might be 1 cm. tall. The thought crossed my mind - has anyone else ever been down here by this obscure part of the stream and seen this? Am I the first? What's the life span of this plant? Even if someone ever did actually come near this rock, they probably just walked by and didn't stoop and contort in order to see this. Then it hit me - in a sense, God probably just did it for his own glory. It's not about me, it's about him and his glorious Kingdom. And yet he let me see it anyway.

God casts his shadow over all his creation. It's hidden in plain sight. He who has eyes, let him see!

If you just want to see the pics bigger without captions, go back and click the first one and go through with your right arrow key and you'll be able to see them in higher resolution.