Across the ravine – like this

The air is frosty and crisp as I look over the ravine before me. Standing here reminds me of Moses leading the Israelites across the Red Sea, as the Egyptians pursue from behind. Both the downhill in front of me and the uphill after are daunting for a novice cross-country skier like me.

I take a deep breath, and am ready to push off, when I notice movement overhead. A bird silently glides into the ravine, showing off its enormous six-foot wingspan. A single flap of its massive wings brings it up the other side. Its plumage is beautiful – mottled white, rust, and gold.

Perching majestically on the tallest tree, the Golden Eagle turns. Its stare seems to say, “You do it like that. Come!”

I push off, and gaining speed, try to keep my balance.

Last Christmas, my sister gave me a Bible arranged in chronological order, in 365 daily readings. I decided to read it in one year, as intended. The beginning was quite exciting – creation, the flood, the exodus, and conquering the Promised Land. The pace slows a bit with David’s and Solomon’s books.

Then it gets really slow as prophet after prophet chastises the Israelites for disobedient behaviour. The warnings are repeated through months of devotionals. Why is this soooo long? I guess these people didn’t catch on well.

I pause; maybe we don’t catch on well. Maybe I’m not catching on.

“What sin did your ancestors find in me that led them to stray so far? They worshiped foolish idols, only to become foolish themselves. They did not ask, ‘Where is the LORD who brought us safely out of Egypt and led us through the barren wilderness?’” (Jeremiah  2:5,6 NLT).

Talk to God first

Where is the Lord who brought the Israelites out of Egypt when we are sick, unemployed, having trouble at work or with a spouse, children, parents? Do we turn to God or try to cope on our own? I admit I too often turn to some of my own idols first, checking the internet, the drug store, the TV. When those fail, I may bring the issue before God.

It has been quite a change to talk to God first. Putting my troubles in the hands of the Creator helps me relax. I can rest and let God handle it. Oh, I still check for advice, but I look wondering what God is going to show me next.

Paul pens it this way: “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand” (Philippians 4:6-7 NLT).

Speeding into the ravine, I pole with all my strength.

The Lord is with me, I will not be afraid. I teeter but stay on my feet. The uphill is steep but I get into a rhythm.

“You are the God who brought your children out of Egypt,” I whisper. “You are my Lord, and nothing, nothing, nothing is too much for you.”

Dennis Thiessen lives in Rocanville, Sask.

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