As I’m writing this, I find myself in a camper on the edge of Yellowstone. We decided to head out and see some of the unique and yet familiar sites of Yellowstone before it’s fully opened …
As I’m writing this, I find myself in a camper on the edge of Yellowstone. We decided to head out and see some of the unique and yet familiar sites of Yellowstone before it’s fully opened to other states and countries.
While the camping and the time spent with family in this unique season of social distancing has been great, it’s also been interesting. Because to go into Yellowstone and watch Old Faithful erupt with only 15 or so other watchers is not normal. It seems strange to walk the boardwalks and not rub elbows with another person or hear a different language and wonder where it comes from. Even more unique is pulling up to the mud pots and taking the best parking spot right by the entrance, when usually the parking lot is full enough to fill a small stadium.
Yellowstone in 2020 on opening week has been strangely different and oddly quiet. Yet, what is perhaps the most interesting part of this trip is that Yellowstone hasn’t changed at all. While hardly anyone is in the park, and the gift shops are not open, and the hustle and bustle of the park is not there, it’s the same wildly beautiful, breath-taking wonder, that it has always been. The buffalo still halt traffic and act as if they own the road. Old Faithful is still faithful. The smells are still unique and shocking. So, while it seems everything has changed, the intentions of Yellowstone have not. It still impresses; it’s still Yellowstone.
I’m reminded in this unique season of life, that we find ourselves all a part of, that he is still the same, great, wonderfully beautiful and beyond my understanding God that has faithfully been with us this entire time. That despite the social distancing, despite the constant reminder of cleanliness, despite the spread of this virus, despite the changing landscape of social activity all around us, he is still the same God that created the cosmos, sent the earth into orbit and sustains it there.
I’m reminded that he is the same God that showed up to Elisha’s servant and revealed the legions of heaven that stood behind the approaching Armenian army in 2 Kings 6. He’s the same God that held the flames back from Shadrack, Meshack and Abednego in Daniel 3. He’s the same God that holds the sun in place, and knows the dew count each morning. Just read Job 38-42 for more thoughts about this.
He’s the same God that told Pilate he had no authority other than what God had given him, in John 19. He’s the same God that healed the leper, restored the sight of the blind and commanded demons to go, in a single command. He is still God, and despite the world constantly trying to give us every reason to forget, doubt or fear everything around us, he is still God. He saw how and when the virus started and he knows how and when it’ll end. There is nothing beyond our God. He is above all, in all and is all. There is nothing that escapes his span of finality.
In these days, while they seem strange and unique, he is the same God that has never failed, nor let us down. Fear nothing, for as Romans 8:31 reminds us, “If God is for us then who can be against us.” And remember the words Christ left his disciples, in John 14:27: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not be afraid.”
He did not leave us a spirit of timidity but a spirit of confidence. Confidence in his ability to be our all. I’m reminded in this perspective column that he is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. Times might change, but he never does. Praise be to God.
(Matthew Tygart is the pastor of Harvest Community Church of the Nazarene in Powell.)