The pastoral scenery is a welcome change from the hustle and bustle of every day life. Interstate 64 West passes by Charlottesville, and then on toward the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Afton Mountain is perhaps the best known single mountain in the area, notorious for it's fog during rainy weather, but a regular tourist attraction on those days when the vantage point from the two scenic overlooks, 5 miles apart, offer a breathtakingly beautiful view of the valley.
Several months ago on one of my trips to Fishershville, I almost drove off the road! Today as I traveled to pick up my son, I listened to an Eddie Willis CD. The weather this morning and a particular song he sang reminded me of that day. He sang that he found comfort as he shared "each rising grief" and "gloomy doubt" with a gracious God who bids us seek His face.
I had been waging spiritual warfare for some weeks. I was struggling on several levels with some fundamental truths and how they had and were impacting my life. For several days prior to the trip I had been praying ardently that God would take this burden from me that I had carried for a long time. It was interfering with my growth, emotionally as well as spiritually.
Giving over this burden was a fiercely won victory, as God had been asking to take it from me for many years. Like an addict, I had to hit "rock bottom" of my own resources and strength before I was ultimately willing and able to lay this burden at the foot of the Cross.
I believed I had made a breakthrough and emotionally and spiritually wounded and battered as I was, when I awoke this particular morning, I felt as if God had lifted it from me, finally and forever. I felt free, though battle-weary. I headed off to pick up my son to bring him home for a weekend visit and the weather was just stunningly beautiful. I looked forward to having the quiet time in the car on the way down to rejoice and praise God, to thank Him and to worship Him with all of nature.
I began my descent off Afton Mountain; the road curved to the left, and as I rounded the bend, the landscape appeared to open up, mountains falling away except directly in front of me! From behind the mountain in my direct line of sight were 8 white jet streams, heading upwards, each at a precise angle - almost like someone had set off fireworks!
It was the most spectacular and breathtaking sight! Each of the jet streams were the same size and height -- extending so high I couldn't locate the top end. They formed a fan shape, had they been part of a connect-the-dots. I thought at the time it was like God's fireworks, affirming and assuring me. I almost had to pull off to compose myself; I stared at the spectacle and lost track for a few split seconds of where I was. I felt so caught up in the Spirit.
I have never seen such a sight before or since! It just doesn't happen! Perhaps they were actually clouds, but I doubted there could be so many, so perfectly formed and placed equidistant apart. I look for anything similar every time I pass that patch of mountain road, and have not been successful. The photo in this post is the closest I have found to how the sky looked that day. But the image of it is burned in my eyes, my mind and most important in my heart. God was speaking to me that day! I heard Him loud and clear! My heart is ever lighter since that day! I am still almost giddy about the weight He lifted from me!
God does indeed bid us seek His face. He longs for us to lay our burdens down so that we can be free of our earthly woes. He opens wide His arms, beckoning us come to Him. It is not until we decide to seek His face that we find true joy, real peace or experience absolute love.
"Turn to me and have mercy on me; grant your strength to your servant and save the son of your maidservant. Give me a sign of your goodness, that my enemies may see it and be put to shame, for you, O LORD, have helped me and comforted me" (Psalm 86:16-17 NIV).
"But the plans of the LORD stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations" (Psalm 33:10-12 NIV).