The cool air of the morning had begun to give way to the warmth of a sunny April day by the time we arrived at Pittsburg Landing. This is one of the few places where you can drive right into Hell’s Canyon. I was glad we were here in April and not in July or August, when the heat can be suffocating. The high, thin clouds gave a surreal backdrop to this unique location. We had just come through a mountain saddle, lush and green with trees and grass, only to drop down into a deep gash in the land highlighted by the Snake River coursing along the bottom.
The camera shutter was clicking away as we walked around the parking and picnic areas. The tree that is the subject of this photo was nothing special, being so similar to all the other trees that lined the canyon bottom. And yet, through my wife’s God-given talent, she transformed the ordinary into something of beauty.
This reminds me so much of what God does in our lives. He takes the ordinary, the plain, and the seemingly useless things of our lives and turns them into works of art. Only the Creator of the Universe could work such magic. As we deal with the hurts, pains, and humiliation of our past, it can be difficult to see the potential for the wondrous which God recognizes as existing inside you and me. After all, we are created in His image! Every spring, God takes the dry, brown and dead plants and trees and paints amazingly brilliant colors with His heavenly palette. If our God can transform the world every spring, then He certainly has the power to transform you and me.
Another story also comes to mind as I recall Pittsburg Landing: the story of a prince who didn’t want to accept the truth of who he was, so he ran away to a desert place, hoping to escape his own doubts, fears and failures. Moses herded sheep for 40 years in a place similar to this. The loneliness and solitude, I’m sure, must have been overpowering at times. And yet, God used the time in Midian to mold and train Moses for his future, his destiny. Maybe the burning bush was a tree like this one: ordinary and plain until it was useful to God for His purposes. And the world has never been the same since!
Are you struggling in your own desert place? Is your life ordinary, plain, nothing special? Remember, the verdant green valleys are not far away. Will you allow God to lead you there, to restore your soul, and to work magic in your heart?
- The Scribe