Two years ago we took the long, long way home from a conference we attended in Colorado. Going north to Yellowstone and then east to Mount Rushmore. Rushmore area had trees and rocky hills but as we continued east we hit badlands national park. Zoom out from satellite view on the map and you see this snaking white area in the midst of green. The Lakota native Americans called the place “mako sica” which meant eroded landscape but was translated bad lands. As in –not a fun place to travel with the rugged terrain, extreme temps and lack of water.
Go figure, now it’s a tourist destination. Maybe it’s a commentary on society today, call someplace dangerous and suddenly it’s appealing. Another place, if you have lots of water, sunscreen, a good hat and hiking boots it can be interesting to explore. And mixed into the landscape are little rodents and bigger beasts, fossils and flowers.
Seeing the flowers blooming and the beauty of the sun on the stone reminded me of a passage in Isaiah.
“But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.”Isaiah 43:1-2 ESV
The idea that trusting in God doesn’t mean he will remove all challenges from your life, but rather he will be there with you in the midst of them. That’s what the flowers remind me of.
I’m dedicating this painting in memory of Jennifer. She was my cousin’s wife who passed away suddenly, this month. Too soon, too quickly, without warning. I’m guessing there are moments that her family feels like the waters are about to overwhelm them. My prayer is they would sense God is in the midst of their grief.