Oct 6 2014

Though the Earth Should Change

_DSC0854I have just spent a wonderful week photographing in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  It was a great time away from the stress of moving into a new home and the usual pressures that come with being a minister.  Even more so, it was a great time to be out in the beauty of God’s Creation and to enjoy the splendor of autumn in the North Woods.  I have witnessed autumn in a number of locations all across North America and would concur with those who say autumn in the UP is hard to beat.

_DSC8504This was only my second trip to this region.  A friend I traveled with has been over thirty times.  One of the things that came up in many of our discussions was how various things had changed.  We hiked to one of the most popular waterfalls in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore and when we got to the platform designed for viewing the falls my friend was disappointed to discover that the trees in front of the falls had grown so tall that they basically blocked the view of the falls he remembers so fondly.  We stopped at another waterfall that both of us had visited on previous trips and were surprised to see that the falls had completely dried up.  Many times throughout the trip we were reminded that in nature things change.

Due to technological advancements the past couple of generations have experienced change at a far more rapid rate than those that went before them.  I remember as a kid marveling at Dick Tracy’s wrist radio transmitter.  Today the iPhone I carry in my pocket does far more than could have been imagined back in that day.  I have been photographing seriously about twenty-two years.  I marvel at how much has changed with cameras in that time.

_DSC8928The changes we have experienced in just the past few years is enough to make one’s head spin.  It is also enough to cause one to be unsettled.  How can one have any sense of peace or security in an ever changing world?  Some might answer that one cannot find either but I would suggest they are wrong.  More than ever I’m convinced that there is one place, or more accurately one person, where we can find a still point and a source of security and that is in God.

_DSC0942A passage that gives me both comfort and hope can be found in Psalm 46.  Here we are told “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.  Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, and though the mountains slip into the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains quake at its swelling pride.” (vs. 1-3)  Many times during this past week as I have contemplated changes in both nature and society I have given thanks for the refuge we find in God.  I have also reflected more than once on these words from my favorite hymn, “Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father, there is no shadow of turning with Thee; Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not.  As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.”  In a world that is forever changing it is good to be able to point to and hold on to One who never changes.  Wouldn’t you agree?


(The images used above were taken this past week on my trip to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.)

Oct 11 2009

The Best Remedy

UP Bond River Reflections 397In the Diary of Anne Frank Anne writes, “The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely, or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone with the heavens, nature and God.  Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature.”  I can’t say that I was afraid, lonely or unhappy before coming to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan but being alone in nature this past week has certainly been uplifting for me.  For the past six days I have been here soaking in the magnificent beauty of God’s Creation.

I saw a shirt recently that had had a saying Anne Frank would have approved of; it said “Nature is good for the soul.”  I truly believe that this is exactly as God intended it to be.  For humans “the simple beauty of nature” is meant to be therapeutic.  Things like sunrises, sunsets, crashing waves, singing birds, autumn foliage, and waterfalls can bring peace and tranquility to the soul.  They can lift one’s spirits and move a person to worship the One responsible for these precious gifts.

UP PRNL 825I’ve included two images from this past week that have special meaning to me.  While photographing the reflections above Bond Falls and the waterfall on Miner’s Beach in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore I experienced a sensation that God was quite near.  At both locations I found myself repeating the words “thank you” over and over again.  I was thankful for the opportunity to photograph such beauty and even more thankful for God making it possible for me to do so.  He truly is an awesome God!

Getting away on vacation has not brought me much physical rest but it certainly has provided the rest I needed for my soul.   Now if I could just discipline myself to take more mini-vacations in nature once I get back home…