Do you ever feel like a forest fire has swept over your soul, leaving your life as barren as a heap of rocky ashes? Ever feel like a volcano has erupted deep down in your soul, spewing billowing clouds of lava high into the sky and overflowing your life with molten rivers of destruction? Have you ever felt like your life has become lifeless and dark…and your soul as hard and impenetrable as an obsidian flow? If not, you’ve very lucky, but if so, may I offer some hope to you? While we were in Bend, Oregon, a couple of weeks ago, we visited Newberry National Volcanic Monument: 50,000 acres of stunning volcanic scenery containing one of the world’s largest collections of cinder cones, volcanic domes, lava flows, caves and fissures. I didn’t realize this, but Oregon has more volcanoes than any state in the contiguous 48 states of America, and from the top of Paulina Peak Trail (which—at 7,984 feet—offers the highest view in Oregon accessible by car), you can see all the way to Mt. Adams in Washington State and Mt. Shasta in California on a clear day! (However, this is Mt. Bachelor, taken from Lava Butte.)The eruption of Newberry Volcano happened ages ago, and there are still areas of scarring where no life exists, but the area is so gorgeous that it’s become a national monument, and people come from (thousands of) miles around to explore the heights and depths of the Newberry Caldera. This week I hope to share more about the fascinating geological formations and beauty of that have come from the eruption of the Newberry Volcano, but my first thought is this: The bigger the explosion, the more potential for the future, either in lamenting harm or in marveling over beauty in the healing. I personally have never been able to heal myself (self-soothing is not my forte), but I do find great comfort in falling into the everlasting arms of my Father, God, who does embrace and restore me. May God deliver us from massive eruptions, but if/when such devastations occur, may we entrust the ruined landscape of our souls into His care. He is able to bring beauty from the ashes: …”to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified” (Isaiah 61:3).
[I took all the pictures, although the ones showing volcanic action and explaining Newberry Caldera were taken of displays at the Lava Lands Visitor Center.]