Pastor Rene' Bogue
Ecclesiastes 3:1 and 4
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven…
…a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance…
It is difficult to describe the soul-touching beauty of the Columbia Gorge. Many of us feel it – particularly when trying to describe Multnomah Falls, the Bridge of the Gods, Oneonta Gorge, and the surrounding areas. As we watched the Eagle Creek fire (I can’t bring myself to capitalize “fire”) take hold and grow, threatening and marring this wonderland, so many in the area described their heartbreak. This is, for many, the heartland of the Northwest.
Some logisticians and scientists among us saw the opportunity for regrowth. One ironic comment reminded us that in just a few hundred years, it would all look like it did…four days ago. There is truth even in this irony. But. All I could think of was Ecclesiastes 3:4, “…a time to mourn…” There is beauty in the mourning, too. There is a cycle of life therein as well. Just as the fires make way for new growth, so the fires of our lives have a purpose, even in the pain. It’s ok to cry over Multnomah Falls. In weeping, or heart rending, we often find our deepest prayers.
The second lesson I take with me from this fire is one that other tragedies have underscored. Just as there is a time to mourn, there is a time to dance, and a time to laugh. So many have posted pictures of their recent trips to the area, all echoing the same sentiment: “I’m so glad I went.” History does not support the fear that all the places we love will burn. But history does support the fact that time will pass. Take the hike, seize the day, use the good china. God delights in our delight, and it pleases Him when we revel in the blessings He’s given us.
He is there in the fire, and He is there in the healing. My prayer for all of us is that we hear and see the blessings He has for us today, and embrace them to the fullest.