“Great are the works of the LORD; they are pondered by all who delight in them (Psalm 111:2).”
I recently moved to a beautiful part of the United States. Southwest Virginia is where I spent my childhood, and the mountains, meadows and valley make a deep impression on my soul.
I tell people that there are not too many other places in the U.S. where I would have moved to from Europe. But when I had the chance to move here, I jumped at it.
Mary Ingles was a settler in the town I live in during the mid 18th century. She was captured by hostile Indians and taken to Ohio. She escaped with an elderly Dutch woman and hiked down rivers and over mountains for hundreds of miles to get back home.
Her true story is fictionalized in the novel “Follow the River” by James Alexander Thom. Towards the end of the book, as she is starving and half dead from exposure, Mary has almost reached her goal. But she can’t move down the river toward her home because the water is too deep and there is nothing but a steep cliff at the riverbank.
As she awakes early in the morning, she resolves that she will do the only thing she can. She will climb the cliff.
Mary can barely move. It is difficult for her to rise up from the ground where she has been sleeping and start the climb. Her body is worn and stiff. Mary begins to think of telling this story of her creaky bones to her fellow settlers. Then she realizes that in her isolation she has forgotten that there are real flesh and blood people who she knows, are like her and speak her language. Her only thought: “Get home!”
Mary begins her climb up the cliff. Forty feet up she looks around and sees the sun rising over the mountains and shining on the cliff above her. Despite her misery, Mary is entranced by the beauty of the scene, so much so that she begins to experience great emotion and wants to cry. The scene is so “God-given beautiful” that she becomes even weaker than she is and can barely continue.
I am priveleged to live in the same area where Mary Ingles saw the sun rise over the hills. Despite my busy-ness and trials this spring, I intend to take time to smell the roses around here.
The exhilirating effect that nature has on a believer is a sign that we know Christ (I John 5:10a). His creation is a reflection of Him.
One day I know I’ll get home — to heaven -and see Him in all His beauty. In the meantime, His creation is the next best thing.
Like Mary Ingles, despite life’s troubles, I can continue my journey here knowing it will be worth it to get home to Jesus. The refrain of an old hymn expresses these sentiments.
It will be worth it all when we see Jesus;
Life’s trials will seem so small when we see Christ.
One glimpse of His dear face all sorrow will erase,
So bravely run the race till we see Christ.