Do you see the Altar?
Now do you see it?
19 October 2016
The park director here at Timna had told me that we would have to move out of our deluxe tent into a regular tent for one night. I agreed to the arrangement, while hoping that they would have a cancellation. As the date for the move approached, Nina and I prayed to be allowed to remain. Last night there was a ruckus caused by one of the new arrivals. They had been asked to move because they had been assigned the wrong kind of tent. The husband gathered up the kids, ready to move, but the wife pitched a walleyed fit, screaming, stamping her feet and slapping her hands together. The park employee that had delivered the bad news began to retreat to the office. She followed him all the way to the door, screaming the whole way. When he shut the door behind him, she continued to scream, pacing and stamping her feet. Finally she paused for breath. She muttered to herself, occasionally throwing a hand to heaven, pacing all the while.
I watched, praying that it wouldn’t even cross his mind to ask nice women like me and Nina to move. And that prayer was answered. The screaming woman got her way, but we were not asked to move. Perhaps the offered the true occupants of that tent a free stay in one of the regular tents. I felt sorry for the park employee, but even more so for her poor husband. No doubt he is very accustomed to her fits of rage. He seemed like a nice fellow.
As the sun began to set Nina and I watched the shadow of the mountains climb up the mountain in front of us. At the top of the mountain is a big rectangular structure that we have begun calling the Altar. At a certain point, the whole mountain is in shadow except for the Altar. It gave us holy goosebumps to see it lit up, as it were.
As I looked up at the Altar I remembered the time when I was little, no more than five years old. I was hiking along the ridge top in Palo Duro Canyon with my family and the Phillips family (my parents’ best friends). Everyone ahead of me went to the left of a cedar tree on the cliff path. I went to the right and fell off the cliff. I could have died that day, but I had landed comfortably on my back on a muddy outcropping, just four or five feet below the cliff—and about 100 feet or more above the canyon floor. I was unhurt and not even frightened. Margaret, my mom’s best friend, jumped down and rescued me, handing me up to my dad.
Then I remembered another time that I had fallen. I was planting ground cover flowers on top of a retaining wall. I was hugely pregnant and lost my balance. I fell backwards off the wall, landing on my bottom on a big, soft bag of mulch. Again, I was unhurt and not even very frightened (it had happened so fast). My thirteen year old son was terrified because he had seen the whole thing. I had to take some time to reassure him that I was fine, really fine.
In fact, looking back I can’t think of a single time that I’ve fallen from any height and hurt myself. The worst falls I’ve ever taken have been at ground level, like when I broke my arm (see Summer in a Cast and God My Healer).
You have made a wide path for my feet to keep them from slipping, (Psalm 18:36).
God is my Fall Safe. God is good!