Tag Archives: rain

Superior Hiking Trail – Day Three

The night’s rain was still dripping from the trees as I stirred from my tent. A thick fog covered the beaver pond and surrounding forest. Though it was not raining at the moment, its threat would be my constant companion.

IMG_20130530_065714_527After a hurried breakfast and fast packing, I was on the trail by 6:00 am. I was glad to have a trail since I could only see a few yards in any direction due to the thick fog. The guide book described the trail as having several scenic overlooks but I could see nothing except grey mist. I scramble up and down the ridgeline, wondering what was ahead. The hike had a surreal feel to it as I moved through the wet forest.

I was reminded of a sermon I heard in seminary. The preacher was describing a similar experience, driving along a foggy highway in North Dakota. He had to trust the road since he could not see very far ahead. He described our faith in God like that drive. God rarely gives us long-range vistas of how our life will unfold. We see only a short ways down our path of life. Our call is to daily trust in God’s presence as our guide for each step along the path.

I was also reminded of a sermon (do pastors always think in terms of sermons?) based on Psalm 119:105: “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” The lamp of the Psalmist was not a searchlight that could cast a brilliant beam for miles, but rather a weak oil-wick lamp that helped you see a few feet so as not to stumble at night. God does not give you a google-map direction printout that shows every twist and turn in your life, but a promise to be with you even in the fog.

IMG_20130530_091848_204Later that morning I reached the Beaver River. It was roaring full of water. There was a tent at one campsite, but no campers around. I continued on through the fog.

I reached the trailhead by Silver Bay about noon. Though it was misting, it felt like heavier rain could happen at any time. I had a choice. I could either continue on the Superior Hiking trail towards Finland MN over a section of the trail described as the most challenging in the region OR hike down into Silver Bay and check into a motel for the night.

My ankle was sore, my gear was wet from last night’s shower, and the cloud cover threaten heavier rain. I turned towards Silver Bay and the Mariner Motel. An hour after I checked in, a large thunderstorm dropped buckets of water and I was glad I had made this choice.   After all, God had given me a brain to use as well as strong legs and back.

IMG_20130530_160347_421Still I had one more day of hiking before heading home.

Lord Jesus, guide me through the fog and the rain of life.

The Blessing of Rain

Rain is falling today in Minnesota. Usually that would be a source of complaint for me. The grey skies and cold rain makes my outdoor runs more challenging. Yet there is a nostalgic quality to rain; I grew up in western Washington where grey clouds and drizzle were a steady part of winter and spring. Delivering newspapers in the rain was a challenge as I pedaled the five-mile route through deep puddles and muddy roads. Now I realize that my paper route built the base and character for long-distance running, even through the rain.

Today’s rain is also a blessing for the farmers of Minnesota. Though too much rain can be a problem, the current soil moisture is below average.  The soil needs water in order to yield crops this summer and fall.

Being the pastor of a suburban church bordered by cornfields, I have grown in awareness how much weather affects the daily life of farmers. Forty years ago, Woodbury was nearly all farms, but they are steadily being turned into housing subdivisions, parks, office buildings and churches. Larry Fredin, a member and farmer, keeps me updated on the weekly activities of local farms and weather. Today’s rain is good.

Part of my Lenten discipline has been reading Luther Seminary daily on-line devotional, called God-Pause. Today’s devotional (3/12/2012)  by Diane Jacobson centered on water for a thirsty land from Isaiah 44:3

For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my spirit upon your descendants, and my blessing on your offspring.

Professor Jacobson wrote, “In today’s passage, God’s covenant promise goes beyond our expectations. God’s promise of pouring out real water on a thirsty land is parallel to the divine Spirit being poured out on the people. Water and Spirit are both instruments of blessing. Baptismal promises echo throughout the land and the voices of nature and humanity join in praise to God.”

The weather forecast for tomorrow is sunny and possibly 70 degrees. I know I will enjoy that when I go for my run. But today’s rain is still a blessing. Thanks be to God.

Oh Lord, send your healing and life-giving rains to all the dry land.