Succor Creek and Leslie Gulch, located in the far SE corner of Oregon, blend much of the “look” found at better known Zion and Bryce Canyons. The formations, particularly in Leslie Gulch, are whimsical, reminding one of Disneyland’s iconic castle. The geology is largely volcanic tuffs, ash that has been cemented together in the heat of an eruption. There is a state park campground at Succor Creek. Leslie Gulch offers primitive off road camping along the gravel road that leads to excellent fishing at the Owyhee Reservoir. In the spring, the grass is green and filled with colorful wildflowers–a visual delight complemented by the melodic voices of meadowlarks, chukar, and an occasional canyon wren.
With its cathedral like walls and spires, Leslie Gulch is a great place to focus on God’s majesty–they simply ARE, nothing more, nothing less. As Oswald Chambers writes in his May 18 commentary in “My Utmost for His Highest,”
“Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin”— they simply are! Think of the sea, the air, the sun, the stars, and the moon— all of these simply are as well— yet what a ministry and service they render on our behalf! So often we impair God’s designed influence, which He desires to exhibit through us, because of our own conscious efforts to be consistent and useful. Jesus said there is only one way to develop and grow spiritually, and that is through focusing and concentrating on God.”
I love the profoundly honest plea of the psalmist in Psalm 25. I commend your reading it. From despair to hope, from past to future, he speaks of his deep need for the totality of God in his life. He knows how vulnerable he is to the vagaries of his own and, of society’s, nature. He realizes that without the constancy of God’s love, guidance, companionship and forgiveness, he is lost.
How wonderful that we all have mothers. More than a mere biological fact, each of needs the nurturing model our mothers have provided. Even though their love sometimes frustrated us when it was not given or received in the way we wanted or expected, that love is fundamental to who we are. Only our mothers know our full history; they were with us from the beginning. My mother could recall so many stories of my growing up. Often it seemed that I had to listen to those stories longer than I wanted to. Yet when she died in 2002, I realized that now I was an historical orphan; familial recollection/reflection was gone from this earthly life, and now was held by God alone.
“Do not pray for easy lives; pray to be stronger people. Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers; pray for powers equal to your tasks. Then the doing of your work shall be no miracle, but you shall be a miracle. Every day you shall wonder at the richness of life which has come to you by the grace of God.” Phillips Brooks, author of “O Little Town of Bethlehem” and famed nineteenth century preacher.
Wow, if only I could totally live within these thoughts. The words make so much sense, but too often I let myself be confined by my mind’s limitations, instead of God’s expansive love.
“We lost sight of our original union with God and the continuing call to be like God. In fact, we became so busy keeping out of hell that we forgot that we were on our way to heaven. We started loving God for the gifts we would receive or the punishment we would avoid.
“But is that truly love? What about the wonder and the possibility of being simply and utterly in love, the only reason being that once before a burning bush the One Who Is said, “I Am Who I Am.” The bush still burns. What about our love? How bright is our flame?” Macrina Wiederkehr, “A Tree Full of Angels”
“To walk with God is to be reassured of direction, guidance, and strength for our daily journey….This does not mean that we will be spared discouragement, disease, or death itself. It does mean that we never be alone. It means we will be given strength to meet the demands of our daily lives….It means that we will know the joy and tranquility of living in the presence of God in every circumstance of life. From fear to courage is the natural journey of all that walk with God.” Rueben Job
The psalmist reminds us that our hearts do recognize an immanent, transcendent yet personal Voice calls us. It is up to us to take the time to listen and to respond.
AW Tozer, in “The Pursuit of God,” vividly reminds us, “God is here and God is speaking. God did not write a book and send it by messenger to be read at a distance by unaided minds. He spoke a Book and lives in His spoken words, constantly speaking a His words and causing them to persist across the years.”
As we stood on the brink of the South Rim and looked out over the magnificence of the Grand Canyon, I was reminded of an observation by Albert Einstein. He is quoted quite frequently now, as a figure who offers a bridge between science and religion. He did not have a doctrinal or dogmatic view of God, but he did deeply appreciate the mystery and the miracle between what the mind can see and figure out, and what lies beyond human comprehension. To him, man was NOT the measure of all things.
“The most beautiful emotion we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of all true art and science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer wonder and stand in rapt awe, is as good as dead, snuffed out like a candle. To sense that behind anything that can be experienced there is something that our minds cannot grasp, whose beauty and sublimity reaches us only indirectly: this is religiousness. In this sense, and in this sense only, I am a devoutly religious man.”
Harvey Cox takes this quote one step further: “Faith starts with awe. It begins with the mixture of wonder and fear all human beings feel toward the mystery that envelops us. But awe becomes faith only as it ascribes meaning to that mystery.” — “the earth is the Lord’s and everything in it. The world and all its people belong to Him.”