Thursday, July 26, 2007

Power of God

Since returning from Oregon, my life has been comprised of VBS, part-time work, and Harry Potter. So, suffice it to say, I am just now getting to a more detailed blog about my trip to Mt. St. Helens. Although, I must confess that it is hard to put into words the magnitude of what I saw and experienced a week and a half ago as I gazed into the enormous crater left behind on May 18, 1980. The entire area is desolate and feels almost like a war zone. I left awe-struck at the beauty that can be found in such desolation. After 27 years, things are just now beginning to regrow and recover from this powerful catastrophe. The mountain itself is actually repairing itself slowly. Mt. St. Helens is currently erupting which I discovered did not necessarily mean the powerful explosive devastation we always attribute to the word "erupt." There are areas inside the crater where molten rock and lava are bubbling over into the crater slowly buiding a "lava dome." This lava dome will effectively become a new top to the mountain if the volcano continues to erupt in this manner. In this way, the volcano is healing from what happened 27 years ago. It's amazing to me that the power of God is demonstrated not only in a massive explosion, but also in the mountain's ability to make itself look like a mountain again.

I think one of the things that has stuck with me so powerfully about the eruption from 1980 is the timing. While doing a guided tour of the area, we were told about how the timing of the eruption saved approximately 1000 lives! 50+ people were tragically killed on that day, but the number could have been much more catastrophic. Here's why: Mt. St. Helens exploded at 8:32 on the morning of Sunday, May 18, 1980. At 10:00 that morning, the gates into the valley were scheduled to be open to let approximatelly 100 cars (200-400 people, most likely) into the valley in order to allow these people to remove personal belongings from the summer homes located at the base of the volcano. If Mt. St. Helens had erupted an hour and half later than it did, all of those people would have been buried under 250 feet of melted mountain. In addition to that, if Mt. St. Helens had erupted on Monday morning instead of Sunday, it has been estimated that about 600 loggers would have lost their lives while felling trees in the fir forest located near the mountain. What I love about this is the idea that God might have been sitting in heaven saying, "I am going to demonstrate my power over creation, but I am going to do it My way by sparing hundreds of lives." What a mighty, awesome, powerful God we serve. Taking a tour of the area around Mt. St. Helens is something I will never forget. What an incredible reminder of the power of God over His world!

"Since we are are receiving a kingdom that cannot be destroyed, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping him with holy fear and awe. For our God is a consuming fire."
Hebrews 12:28-29


Jill said...

glad you had a nice vacation! we just got back from our trip to virginia. i am friends with mindy, the youth minister's wife there, and she and chris just had a baby in may. while i was talking to her, she introduced me to her brother-in-law, tony. later that day, tony was on the same flight back with us. we visited with him and through talking realized he knew the cones and was in their wedding. then he asked me if i knew you and he said that richard is his roommate! what a small world! i actually got to see michelle at the airport because they were picking him up!