GIVING & SHARING NEWSLETTER October, 1993 No. 24
A Place Where You Can See God
I know a place where the Creator is so close that you can sense His presence, His majesty and His glory. Unsoiled by the hand of man, you are compelled to look up in awe at the splendor and the power of the Almighty. Each time I have been there, I have left with peace and assurance that He reigns supreme.
This place is usually not marked on maps. It is out of the way, on a side path from the highway of civilization. From time to time over the years, I have trekked there and entered into the very courts of our Heavenly Father. This hideaway is not merely a place of prayer, it is prayer. For me, it is holy ground. Let me take you there now.
Nestled on the east side of Wyoming’s Big Horn Mountains is the little cattle ranching town of Dayton, Wyoming, along the fertile Tongue River Valley. Tourists from the east go through Dayton on their way over the Big Horns and on to Yellowstone National Park. Almost none of them realize that an unmarked side gravel road just before Dayton leads to Tongue River Canyon, a virtually unknown scenic wonder. A few miles from Dayton brings you to the end of the road, and the beginning of a world apart from man.
The Tongue River roars down from the Big Horns, out of a narrow canyon, whose entrance is graced with towering rock cliffs hundreds of feet high. Needle Rock, is a huge natural rock tower with two slabs of rock leaning together at the top, looking just like the eye of a tremendous needle. Professional rock climbers can go through the eye of the needle, but a camel could never do it!
I begin a 3-5 mile hike on a narrow, strenuous mountain trail up the canyon. Each bend of the trail brings to view different, equally breathtaking, cathedral-like cliffs, red Ponderosa pines struggling to stay attached to steep cliffs, and cottonwood trees nearer the water’s edge. Indian Head Rock looks like an Indian chief watching the canyon far below. The ever-present roar of the river echoes through the deep canyon, at times amplified by echo rocks above the trail, which make the roaring sound of falling water hundreds of feet below appear to be applause, as if God Himself were clapping His hands at the beautiful sight. Usually I meet one or two people on the trail. This fine day I meet nobody until the return trip. This gives me more time to contemplate on God. Many times I have hiked this trail alone, but I have never really felt alone, because there is an ever-present reality of the closeness of the Creator.
It is late summer, and the one delicacy of the short summer is ready for harvest. I stop along the way to sample choke cherries from bushes lining the trail. These tart little fruits are 90% pit, 10% skin and 100% “choke.” But on a hot day, even choke cherries taste delicious.
The trail continues to go higher and higher, leading to the river’s origins in the high snow-capped mountains. Finally, I cross Sheep Creek, a delightful little rivulet where the water is calm, cold and clear before it empties into the Tongue River. I rest my sore feet and cool off. Soon I arrive at the end of the canyon trail. The river is at its loudest here. There are several waterfalls packed into an enclosed area ideal for bathing in the ice cold water. There is a camping spot, which is seldom used by anybody. Most people hike only a short way into the canyon, and never get this far.
Tired yet inspired, I leave the canyon trail and ascend to the mountain meadows. It would be impossible to go through the rest of the canyon itself, because the cliffs get much higher, and the canyon more narrow, as the river forces its way around immense jagged boulders and debris from mountain storms.
My goal has been to ascend to the wind-swept, treeless mountain meadows. In the spring, they are covered with gorgeous alpine flowers; in late summer, heather-like bushes, and a carpet of grass. The meadow ascends up towards the west, into the mists of the high mountains ahead, and to the south, comes up to very edge of the impenetrable Tongue River Canyon. Every time I come here, I am reminded of the movie The Sound of Music, for truly, the hills are alive with the sound of music, the wind, the grass, the flowers, the bushes. There is not a human being in sight, nor any sign of man-made civilization. Here is a type of the very throne of God, the paradise of Eden. It is impossible to be here without praising the Almighty for the wonders He has done. I “see” Him here. I feel His presence, and His goodness. I am speechless. There are no words that can describe my joy, my awe at being touched by Him.
It is getting late in the afternoon. Shadows are growing, and clouds are rolling in, a sign of an approaching mountain thunderstorm. If only I could stay longer in this mountain meadow paradise, and drink in His thoughts. Alas, I have to descend the rocky trail and go back to man’s world. As I return, I contemplate what I have learned. His ways are perfect. My ways are corrupt and faulty. What He does lasts forever. That crystal clear cold water roaring down from the mountain is available for all to come and drink, which is a type of the Spirit of God which He freely gives us to be like Him.
I have been to a place where I can see God. I want to go back, whenever I can. Each time I learn new lessons, and receive new inspiration from Him. The hard winter of life makes these trips rare, yet I savor each one, short though they are.
You need to find a place where you can see God. Last spring, when I took my mother to New York, we happened to be in Central Park in New York City on the Sabbath. It is difficult to rest in this noisy city of jangling traffic and honking taxi cabs. But even in Central Park on the Sabbath, there were quiet ponds with ducks, trees and flowers. If there were no other place to worship the Almighty, I could do it even in New York City.
My secret place is not the only location where you can see God. But it is a very excellent place, where one is not distracted from listening to Him. I would be very happy to take you there if you were to visit us. Find that special place, where you can see God. You can then say, along with David,
He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in Him will I trust. Psalm 91:1-2.
Ellis Island — Seventy Years Later
In October, 1923, Rosina Schmidt, her mother, and older brother arrived in America on a steamship from Europe. They landed at Ellis Island, New York, at that time the nation’s major immigrant processing center, next to the Statue of Liberty. It was frightening for a nine-year-old girl, who spoke no English, to be herded through Ellis Island. They had to take off all their clothes for fumigation. An examiner pried their eyelids back with a hook to see if they had eye disease. They were poked and carefully examined for any major flaw, which could result in deportation. The Schmidt’s feared that one of the family would be deemed unfit to enter the United States, and would be returned to Europe. Finally, upon admittance to the United States, the Schmidt family took a train for Portland, Oregon, where they joined Rosina’s father and uncle, who had previously migrated to America, and earned the money for Rosina’s trip to America.
Ellis Island closed in 1924. Today, immigrants arrive in America with any kind of physical condition, even with AIDS. But in 1923, America was choosey about who came to this country. At that time, you did not have to be rich to become an American, but you did have to be healthy and fit to support yourself, so as not to be a charity case. How our nation has fallen!
In the early 1990s, Ellis Island was partially restored, and reopened as a museum of immigration. Recently, I was grateful to be able to take my mother, the former Rosina Schmidt, back to Ellis Island on a nostalgic trip. Her name is one of many thousands on metal plaques at Ellis Island, honoring the immigrants who passed through the golden door. At a lecture on the history of Ellis Island given by the park ranger, mother recalled her story, and the audience applauded. What courage and hard work these pioneering immigrants demonstrated! We can all learn from them. The world does not owe us a living. We must diligently and honestly work. The exhibits and old photos at the Ellis Island museum are inspiring. What a wonderful time it will be when the “Second Exodus” will occur in the future, when Israel will return from captivity and the millennial kingdom will begin, Jeremiah 16:14-15. That will be a true day of liberty. Until then, we are all migrants of one kind or another, passing through this life, as the tired and poor, huddled masses, yearning to breathe free.
The Vicissitudes of Life
The road to the Kingdom of God is not paved with roses. The end times, just preceding the return of the Messiah, will be a period of “Jacob’s trouble,” Jeremiah 30:7. We are approaching that time, if we are not already there. In order to survive economically and spiritually, believers must make hard decisions. And, they must depend on the Almighty for direction.
Recently, I had to make a hard decision. A year ago, I had been overjoyed to receive a job transfer back to my native Oregon, where I could be near my relatives, after having been away for ten years in Wyoming and Missouri. But soon the coal company for which I had worked for thirteen years was sold to a large conglomerate. I had a job offer with a small fledgling company, at less pay and with at least 50% travel away from home. This did not seem to be good for our family. Other jobs in the Northwest were very scarce.
Out of about 300 employees, only nine of us were given job offers to move to Wyoming with the new Company. Our family loves Wyoming, but it was a very hard decision to leave our family and friends in the Northwest. We are now settled in Gillette, Wyoming, where I have a job with the world’s largest mining company. We don’t look forward to the harsh winters, but we do enjoy the friendly people and small town atmosphere relatively free of crime and violence. I am convinced that God has guided our footsteps.
The Sabbath Sentinel — Much Improved
We enthusiastically recommend that you subscribe to The Sabbath Sentinel, published by the nonsectarian Bible Sabbath Association, RD 1 Box 222, Fairview, OK 73737. Sidney Cleveland has recently assumed the role of Editor, assisted by Art Director Michael Galimore and others. The Sentinel covers news and articles of interest to Sabbath-keepers of all persuasions. The July and August, 1993, issues had excellent articles by Mr. Cleveland on the great controversy within Seventh-day Adventism over rewriting Ellen G. White’s testimonies. He shows how that even SDA leaders admit that Mrs. White plagiarized reams of material from other writers, yet she claimed that what she wrote was 100% divinely inspired directly to her from God. For further proof that Ellen G. White was an uninspired plagiarist, see ex-SDA Walter T. Rea’s book, The White Lie (Turlock, CA, M & R Publications, 1982), available from: Religion Analysis Service, 4724 — 42nd Ave, North, PO Box 22098, Minneapolis, MN 55422-0098 (they also have a wide assortment of books on cults). Ω