I can remember, closing my eyes as I listened to my husband’s heart beat the night before I was to drop him off at camp. I would keep myself up late that night in an attempt to savor every last moment with him.
Grabbing his bags out of the back of the car, I can recall how strangely hard it was for us to say goodbye that day. I remember struggling to make eye contact with him for fear that he might see my uncertainty.
The sun was to be my clock that night, and I knew very well that I needed to get through the desert valley before it got dark. I knew I should’ve headed out awhile ago, but it had been difficult to leave my husband’s side. He would stall also, finding silly excuses to tell me one more thing, and to sneak in one last hug.
It was only seconds after we had said our goodbyes, and after I had made him pinky-promise that he would be safe, that I made my way down the gravel road to head out on my 3 hour journey back home.
I will forever remember the last thing I saw as I left the campsite – over 100 counselors collectively gathered together in an open barn under the stars, arms outstretched to the heavens, singing praises to our Lord!
I took a deep breath as almost to reassure myself that God’s presence, was so obviously with them. I had nothing to fear.
Even still, I cried the whole way home. My heart was terribly troubled and I couldn’t understand why.
It was only after I came upon one of the most captivating back drops along my drive, that I’d at last, be able to calm my restless thoughts.
Not more than an hour into my journey and just as I neared a mountain up ahead, the sun began to set picturesquely beside it in a way that illuminated it’s peak in the most stunning shades of blue that I had ever seen!
And as far as I could see, I was the only one driving through the expanse of the valley that night.
The setting was all for me, it seemed.
I smiled to myself, upon hearing the chorus of a song playing softly in the background…
“Savior you can move the mountains,
My God is mighty to save,
He is mighty to save.”
“That’s cute, God…” I thought to myself, and of the mountain-themed coincidence.
And yet, as I hummed the lyrics that I had no doubt sang hundreds of times before, the words began to come alive to me in an entirely different way that night.
Because as I looked up at the greatness of the mountain ahead of me, there was no denying how truly massive it was!
It felt as if the Lord was intentionally illuminating the entire mountain – all the way to it’s utmost peak- as if to allow me to fully grasp how incredibly enormous of a mountain it really was!
So that He then could declare, that this mountain in it’s entirety -and any other mountain for that matter- were never too large for Him to move.
He was mighty and able to save!
He spoke this so clearly to me that night, that I took this picture to remind me of my moment alone with the Lord in the desert.
But I could never have known when I casually snapped this picture, what the Lord was ultimately preparing me for.
Only He who knew the magnitude of the mountain we’d be up against , when just a day later, we would face unimaginable tragedy in our youth group.
Only He would be able to foresee the very same counselors, that I had last seen lifting their hands and voices in worship, hours later, falling to their knees at the foot of the cross in complete anguish.
And yet, my God did not cower in fear at the sight of the mountain ahead of us! (-the way I so badly wanted to-)
The promise He made remained; ” I am mighty to save”
I am eternally grateful that God prepared my heart that night.
Because just a day later, I would get a phone call from my husband in a voice of hysteria I could barely recognize. The words he spoke, would be so awful and unbearable, that I can recall having to repeat them back to him in an attempt to make sure I wasn’t dreaming.
It felt as if my mind was refusing to recognize what he was saying – refusing to believe the heartbreaking end to the days events – as truth.
…But He was mighty to save.
When Caleb’s family asked Ricky to speak at his memorial, close family friends would come to me privately, overwhelmed with a deep concern that it would be too much responsibility for someone in such a fragile, emotional state.
I would hear out their concerns, but ultimately would look back on my encounter with the mountain that night – remembering how impossibly huge it was – and how even then, the Lord never waivered.
I would choose in that moment, to believe that God was going to use this irreparable loss to move some miraculous-sized mountains. And that in the process, I wasn’t going to be the one to hold Him back.
And so I would choose to believe that my husband could. And for the record, Ricky proved he damn well could! 😉
I will never forget how stunned I was to hear a message of boldness and strength from a person who was no doubt, void of either at the time!
But again, just like He promised, the Lord showed up in a room of Caleb’s closest family and friends, and He indeed, was mighty to save!
Even as I observed my husband struggling to write out his deepest and most private thoughts for last weeks post – tears streaming down his face as he read it aloud to me – I would be lying if I said I didn’t question whether it was wise for me to have asked him to write from a place of such immense pain and tragedy.
And yet, 3 days later we stood in awe at the computer screen! Eyes wide in disbelief at the realization that his post was read by over 1,000 people all across the world!
The United States
1,000 people in 3 days heard of last summer’s unimaginable loss and yet, God’s unmistakeable presence in the midst of it!
Our Lord, is without a doubt, mighty to save!
And my encouragement to you, is that no matter how massive of a mountain you have found yourself up against today – no matter how long you have stood paralyzed in fear, staring up at it wondering if this is the one, due to it’s enormity, that He can’t move on His own – I want to assure you that the very same God that met me in a desert in Oregon, will again remain faithful and true to you!
In the chaos and confusion, I know You are sovereign still.
I will trust in You, Lord.