Jul 18 2010

Through the Floods

flood 037If you’ve read or watched the national news today you may have seen stories about the flash floods that hit Pike County, Kentucky, last night.  I got to witness these floods firsthand—in my front yard!  The bridge that leads to my house was washed away and water came very close to getting into our house.  It was a frightening experience!

From time to time nature does, in fact, remind us of its incredible power.  When it does it can be a humbling experience.  Tornados, hurricanes, earthquakes and floods have a way of showing us humans that we are not in control.  Far from it!

Although I do not believe that God directly sends natural disasters, I do believe that we see in nature’s power a reflection of God’s  even greater might and strength.  I also believe that He can use natural disasters to remind us of how small we are and just how much we need Him. 

Last night I could only stand helpless and watch the destruction unfold in front of me.  I knew, however, that I was not alone.  In fact, I was reminded of a scripture passage I had read just a few days ago.  In Isaiah 43:2 God says, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.”  I also recall Jesus’ promise, “surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Mt. 28:20)  It is my strong conviction that God is always with us, come what may.

Does that mean we will never suffer loss from natural disasters?  Not hardly.  Several in my county lost much last night.  Does it mean that death is not possible when storms or earthquakes come our way?  Once again, not at all.  At least two people died here last night.  But what I do believe is that though we might suffer loss, or perhaps even death, God is still there to see us through.  His power is greater than any flood or earthquake.  His power is greater than death. 

Whenever I see the awesome power of nature I am not only humbled but led to praise the God who created nature and who has promised to always be with us.  He truly is an awesome God!


flood 046

(The top picture was taken from my neighbor’s yard.  The bottom picture was taken from my front porch.)

Feb 10 2010

A Lesson From the Animal World

trumpeter swans 307“Many times I wanted to gather your people as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you would not let me.” Matthew 23:37

My time in Yellowstone National Park is quickly coming to a close. It has been an incredible experience both photographically and personally. One of the things that makes this park so special is the abundance of wildlife and the relative ease of viewing the animals.

A couple of days ago we saw a trumpeter swan pair and their chick (or sygnet). Seeing the male and female swans keep their young one close by got me to thinking about how animals, as a general rule, do an excellent job of protecting, providing for, and teaching their young. Most animals are extremely protective of their offspring. A mother bear, for example, becomes a ferocious creature when she feels her cubs are threatened.

Adult animals also do a wonderful job providing for their young. Here I think a good example would be the way bald eagles bring food to the nest so that their chicks can eat. Another important role of adult animals is to teach their young how to survive. This includes instruction on things like where and how to find food or how to find protection from predators.

In protecting, providing for, and teaching their young, animals offer us a reflection of their Creator. The Scriptures reveal a God who longs to protect us, provide for our needs, and teach us how to live. If adult animals do such a good job of caring for their young, it should be clear that our heavenly Father will do an even better job of caring for His children.  In the scripture passage cited above Jesus uses the mother hen as an illustration of God’s loving care.

Baby animals soon learn how important it is to stay close to their parent(s). We humans should, likewise, realize how critical it is to stay close to our heavenly Parent. Here the animals can be our teachers.



Nov 1 2009

Seeing Creation With Others

Jellico-Mountain-656Thursday I had the privilege of spending the day photographing with Bill Fortney.  Bill is one of my closest friends.  He works for Nikon and for many years owned and operated the Great American Photography Weekend.  Bill is a wonderful photographer, friend, and brother in Christ. 

We hooked up early Thursday morning and after stopping at a couple of scenic spots in Campbell County, Tennessee, made our way to the Tremont area of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  It was a beautiful fall day and there was much to photograph. Throughout the day Bill and I kept pointing out various subjects to each other.  Numerous times we stopped to show one another the LCD on the back of our cameras.  More than once we “stole” each other’s composition. 

GSM-autumn-spray-777I thoroughly enjoy photographing and spending time alone in nature but I also find great delight in being able to do the same with good friends.  Not only do I enjoy the company, I benefit from being able to learn from those I am with.  When it comes to seeing Creation four eyes (or even more) can be better than two.   I learn new ways of looking at nature when I’m with people like Bill and Rob.  By watching and listening to them I come to see Creation in a fresh light.  In the process I also often learn more about God. 

Jesus once said “where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.” (Mt. 18:20)   I’m not sure what all he meant by this but I do believe that by being out with people like Bill and Rob I am enabled to see and experience the Creator in ways I could not alone.  For that reason, I highly recommend seeing Creation with others. 


(The top image was made Thursday on top of Jellico Mountain looking down on Elk Valley.  The bottom image was made in the Smokies.)