A few days ago, I woke to the peaceful silence of an early morning in the Adirondack mountains in northern New York State. We were on one of our frequent family getaways to this wonderful wilderness just a few hours from our home. I have long found a certain freedom and clarity in the mountains. As Charles Lindberg once said, “Real freedom lies in wilderness, not in civilization.”
Rolling out of my tent, I wandered to the edge of a lake we were camped beside. My breath was taken away by the sheer beauty I encountered. A cloud hovered inches above the water and was slowly moving across its surface. A wispy serenity gripped me. I stood on the shore, unable to move for a while, soaking in the beauty of it all. No artist could capture what my eye beheld that cool, crisp morning. The ultimate Artist had created a masterpiece for me that I knew was fleeting and would soon evaporate when the sun rose over the trees standing like sentinels out of sight on the opposite shore line.
Scrambling back up to our tent, I woke my wife and daughters, inviting them to join me back at the shore. We all stood in utter silence for several moments, a feat of untold proportions, considering my girls are 3 and 5 years old respectively and prone to the minutest attention spans.
Emma and Ruby stood about a foot from the shore, holding hands. As they gazed out at the foggy horizon shrouding the furthest points of the lake, Ruby asked, “Daddy, where did the other side of the lake go?” Such sweet, poetic innocence. And yet, such insight and poignance was held in her query. That simple question wrote itself on my soul that morning.
I felt as though God whispered, “Jason, you ask me questions like that every day…”
How often through the trials, tribulations, detours and disappointments in life do we ask God, “Where did the other side of the lake go?” The fog of circumstance so quickly sweeps into our consciousness and obscures our future, our dreams and our hopes. In the grand scheme of things, it is a temporal and fleeting obfuscation that clouds our perception. In the brevity of that morning, God reminded me of the incredible truth Job held onto about God centuries ago, “…He knows the way that I take; when He has tried me, I shall come out as gold” (Job 23:10).
As the Adirondack mists faded from the lake and the opposite shoreline came into view, I opened my Bible with fresh eyes as I looked again at the story of Job. What devastation and heart wrenching pain he endured. How easily he could have given up and cursed God, as those he loved suggested. In spite of the uncertainty, tragedy and fog in his life, Job held onto what he knew to be true about God. “For He will complete what He appoints for me, and many such things are in His mind” (Job 23:14).
Regardless of what you are going through right now, know that God’s plans for you penetrate the fog. The Bible tells us His plans for us our good and that they include hope and a future. Place your trust completely in Him and wait for the sun to evaporate the mist. With our eyes on Jesus, the clarity of day is never far away.
I am so grateful for the profound truth God planted in my heart that morning. I would have missed it completely, if not for the still silence of the mountains. Leonardo da Vinci once said, “Nothing strengthens authority so much as silence.” God’s authority speaks with the greatest volume to me in the mountains. It makes me wonder what else He wants to say? What do I miss with the din, the distractions and the business of life? What do I miss when when I am far from the silence?