January 8, 2009

Just Because I Don't See Him...

The family made our annual pilgrimage to the Great Smoky Mountains over the Christmas and New Year's holidays and as always it was a wonderful time to unwind, rewind, and renew. I love to walk in the mountains and I had ample opportunity to do just that.

One morning I rose early and made my way to a favorite trail, alone. A steady pace soon carried me to where the quiet majesty of the mountains enveloped me and the noise of the world receded to a faint whisper.

I am always on the alert for wildlife on this trail. I have had a near face-to-face encounter with a grand old whitetail buck - I'm not sure who was more surprised when our eyes locked at less than 10 yards. I have trailed a flock of gobblers who had little concern for my presence and contentedly scratched a pecked for their breakfast. I have seen the hind end of the fabled black bear as it skittered across the ridge top away from me. Not to mention the numerous small animals that are ever present.

The signs of life were abundant this cool, clear morning. Fresh dung from coyotes, bears, turkeys, and deer was in evidence. The scratchings and rootings of wild hogs were in abundant display. Even an old snag of a tree showed the persistent and potent work of a woodpecker. I fully anticipated seeing an animal of some sort at every turn of the trail. But my stealthy gait and sharp eye brought no satisfaction.

I finally found a tree with a welcoming set of roots to sit against and tried to let the woods forget I was there. Perhaps a deer would wander across this glade or a turkey would strut his stuff for me. The minutes passed. The stillness deepened. I was certain there were wild eyes watching me. The only disturbance was a single squirrel who paid me no attention.

I knew they were there. I had seen the signs and I desperately wanted to lay eyes on their marvelous wildness. But on this morning it was not to be.

As I sat there against that gnarled old tree in silence God quietly spoke and I strained ever so hard to hear as He explained that just because I don't see Him does not mean that He is not there. The evidence of His presence is abundant. There will be times when He surprises me by stepping out of the shadows of my busyness. There will be unexpected encounters with His greatness along the way. But in those in between times there will be abundant evidence of His passing if only I will take time to see.


Gwendolyn said...

That is a lovely way to explain one's confidence in God's presence to those who claim they have never seen or heard or met him. I was in my late 20's before I 'saw' my first Red-Tailed Hawk, and it gave me quite a shock! Not because the hawk was there that day, but because the hawks had been there all along and I had no idea of it!

Wen said...

I was sitting in a similar place, only in a church camp in the Birmingham mountains when God first got my attention. I knew about Him of course, before that. But He really revealed Himself to me on His own canvas that day. I don't always hear Him (more than likely, I'm just not always paying attention). But He is there. His own creation is His best testimonial, in my opinion. Thanks for sharing this John(ny)... I don't know if I can call you John. ;)

sojourner said...

taking the time to see
is the hardest part for me
learning to be still before the Lord is a dynamic of relationship that all too often falls by the busy wayside - i'm so glad you were able to partake!