The past several weeks have been a whirlwind of emotions and a crash-course adventure out through the mountains of Montana and back. Oh, I have tons of stories in those short two weeks; Of how seven of us second years went up into the Tobacco Root Mountains to blast rock out of a new reroute of a trail. Of how I got my FAL-B certification (with restrictions) after falling two trees, the second I turned down due to the fact that I was not comfortable with it. Of how I watched as hesitant first years handled chainsaws and learned how to utilize them as a hazardous tool. Of how we laughed together as we crammed eleven individuals in a cabin built to hold four. Of how a hundred thousand stars reached across the night sky. Of how each sunrise and sunset echoed over the horizon.
All these stories I have locked away in my heart. They cry out with joy. And I smile.
I said a prayer for a friend as I rode back to St Louis. A prayer of protection bathed in love.
It’s a prayer that I have been telling myself over and over throughout the past couple weeks, months. It’s a prayer for redemption. And a prayer for God to use us in ways that surprise us each and every day.
I know that the most dangerous place we can ever find ourselves is in the palm of God’s hand. I know this from experience and I have seen it in the journeys of others. God puts us in places that make us uncomfortable. That show us what we truly fear. And He reveals His love for us in that place.
Our lives our His love reflecting though us. We are His presence in the lives of those around us. His love is our light that shines out into the world around us.
The power of love is what gives us life. It sustains us. It protects us.
I pray constantly that God surprises us with His love, revealing opportunities that would have gone unnoticed. I pray for forgiveness and redemption, but in a way that takes us by surprise.
It could be as simple as a friend asking for a prayer. Or a strangers smile.
Our presence is the love of protection that blankets those around us.
At times, the danger is here and now. God never promised us that we would make it out of this unharmed; His promise is that He will always be there beside us. We will get beaten and battered, cut and bruised, left out to perish by the world, but God will be there every step of the way.
The power of love is that we may never know all those lives we have touched, but knowing that we are a beacon on the mountain top for all those with eyes to see.
Love defines us. Love created us. And through love, we have conquered this journey.
I look out onto the faces of those returning ERT members and the first years that serve beside us. I look up into the night sky and take in the multitude of stars that are scattered across the heavens. I sit and I stare out at the rising and setting sun that has painted the skies before us. And every single moment, I am reminded of the love that surrounds me.