of the Greatest Adventures
Craig von Buseck
CBN.com Contributing Writer
-- "This is one of the greatest adventures of my life!" my 8-year-old daughter
said almost breathlessly as we trekked along the narrow ledge of Wintergreen
Gorge -- one of Pennsylvania's awe-inspiring canyons.
Carved into the earth
underneath the crushing, grinding weight of an ancient glacier, this lush valley
is a spectacle of God's creativity and wonder. My breath is taken away when I
stand at the base of the 100-foot sheer rock face cliffs, observing aeons of time
reflected in the sedimentary layers that flow like tapestry across the canyon
walls. I am filled with joy as I follow the delicate artistry of the channels
in the bedrock where thousands of years of trickling water have eroded ribbons
of limestone in varying shapes and depths. I am taken back to a simpler time of
Rockwellian significance as I watch my children frolic beneath a pristine waterfall.
I remember my own childhood with sentimental satisfaction as I help my 10-year-old
son, David, catch a salamander -- and then I return to my role as a father as
I urge him to set it free, because it would be happier here in the gorge.
we go home to visit my parents I love to hike with my children through this living
museum of natural curiosities. Of course, we never return to Virginia without
several pounds of souvenir rocks, fossils, and sometimes even the living critters
that I couldn't save from David's bug box.
The Apostle Paul spoke of the
wonder of nature in Romans chapter one, and how God reveals Himself to mankind
through the beauty of the earth.
For since the creation of
the world God's invisible qualities -- His eternal power and divine nature --
have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men
are without excuse (Romans 1:20).
My thoughts are always sent heavenward
when I experience nature -- especially in places of grandeur like Wintergreen
As we hiked along the valley floor we were constantly on the lookout
for places to cross the meandering stream. While I was concerned about where I
was placing my foot for the next step, working to keep from slipping into "the
drink," I was also looking up from time-to-time to see where the best path would
be up ahead. I had to be vigilant so that we could continue along our pathway
without getting stranded between the steep walls and the flowing creek. On occasion
we found ourselves in a place that had no narrow crossing. We had no choice but
to gather large boulders and build a bridge to the other side of the waterway.
This constant action of looking down at my feet, and then up again at the
trail ahead of me reminded me of the words of King David in the Psalms:
word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path (Psalm 119:105).
Christians, our walk with the Lord is similar to this hike through Wintergreen
Gorge. We need God's word for today to shine a light on the footsteps right before
us -- these are words of encouragement, comfort, wisdom, and sometimes, immediate
direction for our safety, to keep us out of "the drink." But we also need to have
God's word to be a light for the path out in front of us. These are words of direction
by the Holy Spirit, spoken to our hearts, through the ministry of a trusted godly
friend, or even, perhaps, through the utterance of a prophet of God.
children and I built one of our stone bridges to get across the deep water I was
reminded of a vision the Lord gave me during a time of decision in my life. I
was facing some important choices and I felt the Lord leading me to fast and pray.
During one of these prayer times I saw a picture in my spirit.
I was standing
on the banks of the Niagara River, only a few short feet away from the edge of
the falls. Stretched out before me were several large, flat boulders that rose
out of the water, creating a dry and relatively safe bridge across. The only difficulty
in navigating this bridge was that the rocks were spaced two-to-three feet apart
-- just far enough that it required a slight leap to get from one rock to the
next. Below me the mighty Niagara raged, lapping up on the sides of the great
boulders, and then thundering over the edge, hundreds of feet to the gorge below.
I knew in my heart that my task was to get to the other side of the river.
I was nervous about the rushing rapids, I was confident enough in my ability to
leap from stone to stone. Gathering my courage, I leapt from the bank onto the
first boulder, waving my arms as I landed to maintain my balance. The spray of
the falls shot up in my face, and the thunder of the torrent rang in my ears,
but I was safe for the moment on the first rock. Taking a minute to catch my breath
and assess the situation I determined that this would not be as difficult as I
had first imagined. Bounding forward I jumped to the next rock, and then to the
I was starting to get the hang of this, and suddenly I was feeling
more confident than I should have. The pride of my accomplishment was crowding
out the wisdom of caution that had earlier reigned in my heart. In that moment
I forgot about God's plan in this scenario as I was caught up in the excitement
of the "extreme sport" of crossing Niagara Falls.
But at that moment God
did something that caught my attention. Just as I was reaching the middle of the
river, poised to take my next jump, all of the daylight disappeared and I found
myself standing there in the dead of night. I could still feel the spray of the
water on my face, and now the roar of the waterfall echoed in my ears. I was overcome
with the terror of my perilous circumstance. Suddenly I looked down and noticed
that the stone I was standing on was lit, seemingly from within. The light shot
up to my knees, and outward to illuminate the water rushing past me in an endless
My thoughts turned to the Lord and I asked, "Father, what are you
He spoke gently to my soul, "My child, Jesus Christ is the
rock that you are standing on, and the Holy Spirit is giving you the light for
the place where you are. As long as you stay in the light, standing on the rock,
you will be safe."
"But Lord," I inquired, "You've called me to the other
side of the river. How am I going to get across? I can't see your path before
Again the Lord spoke into my heart. "Don't move from where you are
until I light up the next stone. You can not leap into the darkness, hoping to
land on a solid place. If you try to move forward in your own strength you will
miss the rock, fall into the river, and be carried over the falls to disaster.
In my time I will provide the light for your path."
I stood on that rock
for a moment, listening to the torrents of water crashing onto the jagged boulders
over the edge of the falls. But inside I finally had peace. I had the word of
After a short time the rock in front of me lit up. "Go forward,"
the Lord spoke into my ear. With an easy leap I jumped onto that solid boulder,
well above the raging river. As soon as I had landed safely on this new place
the glow from the former stone disappeared, and only the light at my foot remained.
"This will be your life," the Lord declared as the vision dissipated. "You
will walk a difficult path. Danger will lap at your feet from beneath you. If
you move out in your own strength you will risk being swept over the falls. You
must stand on the rock, which is Jesus Christ. You must remain in fellowship with
Me, and you must study and meditate on My word. I will provide a lamp for your
feet, and a light for your path. Trust me completely, and only move forward when
I light up the next stone."
This vision from the Lord has come back to
me many times since that day as I have gone to the Lord in prayer for direction
in my life -- sometimes seeking a lamp for my foot in a particular day or circumstance,
and sometimes desiring a light for my path to receive direction for the future.
And God has been faithful to His word:
The steps of a good
man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall
not be utterly cast down; For the Lord upholds him with His hand (Psalm 37:23-24).
In many ways my life has been like our hike through Wintergreen Gorge.
I am constantly looking down at my feet, and then up again at the path ahead of
me, all the time praying that God will direct my steps. But the Lord has always
been faithful to guide me as I wait for His direction, and for His timing.
agree with my daughter's assessment of the journey, "This is one of the greatest adventures
of my life!"
More Discipleship Resources
More from Spiritual Life
Read Craig's blog, ChurchWatch
Craig von Buseck on CBN.com
von Buseck is Ministries Director for CBN.com. Send
him your e-mail comments.
Order your copy of Craig's book, Seven Keys to Hearing God's Voice
CBN IS HERE FOR YOU!
Are you seeking answers in life? Are you hurting?
Are you facing a difficult situation?
A caring friend will be there to pray with you in your time of need.