The beautiful thing about being on vacation is that time doesn’t matter. On our trip to Colorado and Wyoming this August, there were several days when I did not even know (or care to know) what day of the week it was. And time of day was judged solely on the *hangriness-level* of the children (or maybe the parents 😉).
But on our visit to Yellowstone National Park, we learned that time can be everything!
On our 90-minute tour of the Norris Geyser Basin, we learned all about the Hot Springs:
And, of course, the Geysers:
that make Yellowstone the unique attraction that it is. Our tour guide, Rick, shared about the history of the park and its fascinating geothermal features.
During the tour, Ranger Rick asked our group a question: “Can any of these features change to become another kind of feature? Can a Hot Spring become a Steam Vent? Can a Geyser become a Hot Spring?” The answer was an obvious “Yes” in my head – it only made sense that over thousands of years things could change. But, as Rick informed us, things in Yellowstone can change overnight!
Change is an inevitable part of life. As long as the earth is still spinning, living things will grow, the ground will erode, buildings will deteriorate, metal will rust, paint will peel, and clean will become dirty. With every minute that goes by, technology advances, styles adjust, opinions shift, and feelings fluctuate. The passing of time always brings change.
I am not the same person I was a year ago and a year from now, I will not be the same person I am today. This is especially true when it comes to my relationship with Jesus. Like all relationships involving humans, shifting, fluctuating, and adjusting are part of the package. Even though I like to think it’s possible, I am never at a place where I am staying put – I am always shifting in one direction or the other.
When Ranger Rick explained to us how things in Yellowstone can change overnight, we were surprised to find out the answer was… earthquakes! According to Rick, anywhere from 1 to 20 earthquakes occur every day in the park (yes, I was second-guessing my parenting and vacation location choices at this point!). The general public would never feel these quakes, but they are happening and with every one, the ground is shifting and things are changing.
We all experience approximately 1 to 20 earthquakes a day. They come in the form of moments, events, interactions, conversations, and decisions. I wish there was a way to predict them or see them coming, but there rarely is. Their effects range from imperceptible to drastic, and though some of these earthquakes are in our control, most of them are not. Regardless of their magnitude, these disruptions change us and cause shifts in our faith.
The good news is that the direction of these shifts is in my control. Psalm 92:1-2 tells me:
“It is good to praise the Lord and make music to your name, O Most High, proclaiming your love in the morning and your faithfulness at night.”
Though I did choose to allow my family to camp on top of a dormant supervolcano (another questionable parenting choice), I don’t have to live on one. I have the ability to put my feet down every day on something that will never shift – the unfailing love of the Lord toward me. I can start each day acknowledging that I am fully and completely loved by God and then let that love support and stabilize me through the quakes. At night I can look back and declare His faithfulness and goodness in it all – no matter what tremors occurred.
Near the end of our tour, Ranger Rick told us yet another fascinating fact about the geothermal features in Yellowstone. He said that it’s only because of the earthquakes that the geysers are still geysers! The water coming out of the earth in these features is filled with minerals that build up and threaten to close them up for good. But thanks to the constant shifting of the ground, the minerals can’t stay built up and the water is able to make its way through. In fact, Steamboat Geyser, the world’s tallest active geyser, which has erupted only sporadically over the last hundred years, has erupted 17 times in 2018!*
The moments, events, interactions, conversations, and decisions headed my way today may not be fun, but they may also be the very things that are shifting me closer to Jesus. The passing of time always brings change, but that change can be for the better!