There are three statements that have been stuck in my brain over the last week or so, as we met and made friends with the people in Appalachia, as they shared their hopes, struggles, concerns, and joys with us I couldn't help but realize how much I see God in people. We are made in the image of God, and when people open themselves up and share themselves in the ways these people did, I realize how possible it is for us to be be God's image in the world.
I have always been an outdoors type of person. The more we hiked around Appalachia the more I realized just how content I was with being in God's creation. My escape from the daily struggles of life has always been to go out and surround myself with nature. After seeing the mountains destroyed all for the sake of coal (again partially my fault) I wanted to just get away, and the next morning I did. Rosa and I climbed the mountain at 5:30am to watch the sunrise. It was beautiful and I could feel God more than I have anywhere else. What does that mean you may ask? It means I turned to Psalm 125:2 and realized that what was written by the Psalmist was true for me. "Just as the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds his people now and forevermore."...When I felt like the mountains of life were crumbling around me, God was there, my spirits were lifted and I found hope in the fact that God is still God, God is still good, and God is still in control.
The last statement is that I hear God the loudest in scripture. When the going gets tough, when I just want to run away and hide in the woods, I take my Bible and I go. When I want to be alone, it's not that I want to be all alone, I want to spend time just me and God. When I have no answers for what is going on in life, God's word does. and Isaiah 55:8-9,12 is where I found the answer to the posed question of where is the hope for the things we were exposed to in Appalachia?
8For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord. 9For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. 12For you shall go out in joy, and be led back in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall burst into song, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
God is in control not us and God's creation speaks to us. The mountains being destroyed ripped a part of my heart out, it made me angry. It made me feel like I slack in the area of being a good steward of the earth. But at the same time, there is a peace about being in a God's creation, that God deemed good.
I don't know what all of this means, I just know it has been placed on my heart and I need to continue sorting through these ideas. And that I will, until then, may you live in grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ...