The Pacific Northwest is a magnificent region of America, but I hadn’t realized that Oregon is such a popular tourist destination until I wrote about our reunion. One friend wrote immediately to tell me that her brother lives in Bend, and they visit annually because there’s no end of recreational possibilities. I have an in-law niece whose family is going to Bend next summer for a reunion. A week after we returned, I discovered that a cousin’s family had just celebrated with her family at a reunion in Oregon. (In this picture, they’re at Crater Lake.) The following week I saw pictures on Facebook of friends who’d been white water rafting on Oregon’s Rogue River! All this to say, what was yesteryear’s disaster can become tomorrow’s delight! The Newberry Volcano that erupted thousands of years ago extinguished every trace of life under an avalanche of lava and ash. When my sister moved from Oregon’s fertile coast land to Bend, she exchanged her beloved bed of roses for a rock garden, lamenting that earth encrusted with glass-like lava precludes the possibility of maintaining lush greenery. And, this proved true as we wound our way through Lava Lands Visitor Center and drove to the top of Lava Butte. However, the children kept noticing that here and there amidst the barrenness there were bushes full of translucent red berries that looked like currants. Some flower charts along the trail confirmed our hopes. The berries were not only edible, they’d been an important ingredient in making pemmican, which helped pioneers survive as they toiled along the Oregon Trail during the westward expansion of America during the 1800s. (Come to think of it, Oregon has been a popular “tourist” destination ever since explorers and trappers discovered it centuries ago! 🙂 )At any rate, it thrilled me to discover that God used this desolate wilderness to help support life. (Even Reid liked the berries.)I don’t know about you, but I’ve had some volcanic eruptions in my life that left me so devastated I didn’t know if I’d ever survive or recover. Nevertheless, like this tenacious old pine, God can bring us through and cause us to bloom again. We might never be a world-class rose garden… but God can bring beauty and help support life from the ashes if we’ll let Him.
“O Lord, to thee will I cry: for the fire hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness, and the flame hath burned all the trees of the field” (Joel 1:19).
“Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye even to me, with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: and rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil.”
“Fear not, O land; be glad and rejoice: for the LORD will do great things.”
(Photo Credits: Picture of Crater Lake, by Heather C.; Picture of Rogue River by Andrea L.; painting of the Oregon Trail by Albert Bierstadt; aerial photograph of Lava Butte by Oregon Tour and Travel Alliance; I took the rest.)