Friday, December 15, 2006

Mt. Hood

Having grown up in Portland, Oregon, I've been looking at Mt. Hood and loving her all my life. She is Portland's most famous landmark, and those of us who have lived in her shadow never seem to get over her. "Look at Mt. Hood!" we'll say to each other, when the rain clouds clear and we get a clear view of her—as though we're seeing her for the first time. Most of us manage to ski on her slopes, and that makes us love her all the more. So it's a hard swallow for me that Mt. Hood has turned sinister and my brother-in-law and his two friends are her hostages.

I'm thumbing through Jerry Bridges book, Trusting God: Even When Life Hurts. He has a chapter on "God's Power Over Nature," which is an interesting read under normal circumstances, but deeply unsettling in the current crisis. The verses Jerry quotes take on new meaning for me now.

"He spreads the snow like wool and scatters the frost like ashes. He hurls down his hail like pebbles. Who can withstand his icy blast?" (Psalm 147:16-18)

While we wait and Mt. Hood is covered in blizzard conditions and battered by hurricane force winds, it is both comforting and upsetting to know that "snow and clouds, stormy winds . . . do his bidding" (Psalm 148:8).

I can't pretend to be able to explain what God is doing. I won't say these realities don't bother me. But these words remind me that the God who loves us is in the storm, that He calls us to trust Him in situations where we don't understand, we are hurting and we don't know how it will all turn out.

Thank you again for keeping the James family and the families of Brian and Nikko in your prayers. Pray that our faith will remain strong—whether we are waiting at the foot of the mountain or hidden in the snow somewhere up near the summit.



karin said...


I feel like you are a dear friend, even though I have only read your books. Like the others, I am merely but one of your husband's students, who is hurting with you and praying with you. Thank you for putting into words what we don't know our hearts feel. You have been a spiritual mentor to me through your writing and this post has again confirmed the profound work of Christ in your life.

Dr. James taught us that our theology has to trump our experience because there will be times in our lives when our experience will tell us that God is not sovereign, that He is not good, that He has managed to leave His throne - if only for a moment - and His loving gaze has left us. And yet, our theology must be so grounded that we will cling to what is true, that we will meet Christ at His Word, and He will be our hope.

You and Dr. James are testimonies that theology trumps experience. Seeing your character in the face of heartache and disappointment and fear is a better education than all my semesters at RTS. You are light. God is using you. You are in His grip and covered with prayer.

Keep the faith,
Karin Tome

Anonymous said...

My faith has wavered this week. I have vasilated between hope and despair, as I am sure the family members of the climbers has as well, and many others who are "watching and waiting" for good news daily. As darkness has fallen here in Florida each day, I'm reminded that darkness is quickly approaching the west coast. While the sun is up I"m somewhat hopeful. But when the sun sets, it's hard to stay hopeful. Thank you, Carolyn, (and Jerry Bridges) for the timely reminder that God is still God when He doesn't still the storm and He is IN the storm. I thank God with you for this day (Saturday) that the storm is stilled and rescue teams are swarming the mountain. I pray with you for a very good outcome. May nightfall bring good news!--Cristi