On a late June morning we fired up the bikes and rode out of Kalispell, Montana, expecting great things at Glacier National Park. Early indications didn’t encourage us. The chill cut deep and we endured 30 miles of mostly urban traffic. So far, the shivers from cold and the frustrations from traffic seemed typical. Nothing awesome, just unpleasant conditions. Then we entered Glacier. The first ten miles or so were straight and slow and serene as we skirted Lake McDonald. Evergreens provided a covered archway and limited the visibility, and I relaxed in the slowness. The frustrations of the earlier morning ride seeped away and I sensed God’s presence again invading my soul.
Serenity soon ended, as Lake McDonald gave way to McDonald Creek and McDonald Falls. In my beloved Sierras, a creek at most maxes at 10 ft wide, and often only reaches 2. McDonald Creek was a river--trust me. A rope bridge spanned the stream just below the falls, and the “creek” was a 30 ft. wide torrent rushing over the rocks. The immense power of the falls reminded me of the power God used to create the world, and I began to rest easy in him.
Things changed more at The Loop. The earlier serenity transformed itself into fear as we climbed a narrow road gouged into the side of a sheer cliff. The two-way road, with few side rails, seemed about 10 ft. wide with a long fall if you slid off, so I tended to stay close to the center line—impossible with some wide cars and trucks coming the opposite way. In the brief moments that I could take time to think, I feared the road.
Slowly, awe conquered the fear. Not even the dangers of the road could overpower the view of massive mountains, carefully carved with a fine knife. Moses must have walked these mountains, striking nearly every rock in sight. In one stretch of solid rock, maybe 150 ft. wide, two waterfalls tumbled as water gushed from every square foot. For some unknown reason, its name is the Weeping Wall. The Grinnell Glacier lay just two miles above us. God utterly astounded me with his transcendence here.
On the return trip, half a dozen bighorn sheep played on the steep slope in the pic above. One in particular picked her way down with more grace than Kobe in his prime soaring to the rim. Clearly, she was designed to do that, and she seemed to exult in it.
Serenity. Power. Fear. Awe. Grace. These are the morning devotions that best feed my soul.
Kick Starting the Application
In order to start their day by inviting the perceived presence of God, many practice fairly formal morning devotions, with a specific time and often a specific program or book to follow. I've done that, but not really maintained that. But the principle has value--we all need to craft an awareness of God's presence and love and grace in each waking moment. The story above reveals one way I do that, but I don't ride the bike through marvelous mountains each day.
So, do you have a format, or several, to reconnect with God each day? If so, has it improved your walking with God? In what ways? Are you consistent? What most keeps you from that? What can you do to increase it? Do certain formats work better than others for you? Why?
Note: to read a more developed form of this, check out Chapter 30 of God, a Motorcycle, and the Open Road