By Debbie Shope
There are beach people and there are mountain people. Occasionally there are beach/mountain people, but they are a rare breed. I am a beach person. I was born in southern California and family lore has it that, from a very early age, as soon as I set foot on the beach, I would run for the waves. I can sit and stare at the ocean for hours, and all of my best daydreams involve the sand, sun and surf, though generally minus the hordes of people. In any case, it is in my DNA.
I happen, however, to be married to a mountain person. And all of my children seem to be mountain people (though I remain hopeful because I suspect they are also ‘closet’ beach people). Over the years we have spent a lot of time in the mountains, and I have grown to appreciate what draws their hearts to these remote places. A beautiful instance of this occurred just a few weeks ago.
Due to the generosity of a couple in our church, Ward and I were able to spend a relaxing week in the White Mountains. Now, I am used to God speaking to my heart as I look at the ocean, and ponder the endless horizon and the relentless tides that remind me of His Sovereign care and His immensity. But this summer, God spoke to me as I gazed out at the mountains in ‘our backyard’ in New Hampshire. As I admired their splendor and vastness, my mind turned to thinking about creation. What must it have been like to watch the God of the Universe create those mountains? Did He shape each one by hand? Did He carve out the valleys and rivers simply by tracing His finger across the earth, the way a child might draw a pattern in the sand? What a glorious moment that must have been. Then I began to wonder, since Heaven is eternal, does that mean that we might be able to somehow get to watch this extravaganza when we are there? Is it possible that we could get front-row tickets to the beginning of everything?
As I sat on the porch with my heart marveling at the idea of seeing God at work in creation, my musings were interrupted by none other than the Creator Himself. It was as if He said, ‘This is all very good Debbie, and one day maybe that will be. But you have missed the point. I am at work now. I am creating new hearts in the people that you see every day. They are my new creation. I orchestrate the circumstances of innumerable lives and nations. I hear and answer the prayers of my people. Even today I am healing the wounded, feeding the hungry, and making the broken whole again. I am pushing back the darkness even in the place where your son has chosen to go. All the rumblings of unrest in the world, all the fear of what could happen, I am not asleep — these are the places where my Spirit is most active. Don’t wait till Heaven, just look around and see — “I am making all things new.”’