Between uncertainty and peace there’s holy ground

June 5, 2015 | Bethany Cok

Two weeks ago, I was casually driving along the highway from Grand Rapids to Detroit at 4 AM. By which I actually I was arguing with myself out loud, while maneuvering around trucks, singing along with the radio, and wishing I had stopped earlier to buy myself an iced caramel macchiato.

Why was I arguing with myself, you may ask? Well, I was on my way to a training conference in Denver for A Christian Ministry in the National Parks, in preparation for a summer (hopefully) spent in Yosemite. The thing was, I’ve never been to California before, I didn’t even have a job in the park at that point, and I was randomly skipping a religion exam on a very normal school day in order to fly out to Colorado to be part of this training conference that I didn’t know much about for a program that I didn’t know much about.

So I was arguing with myself over whether I was crazy or not. I concluded crazy.

There was a level on which this definitely didn’t make sense.

But in my small tan Chevy Lumina, somewhere on the road between Lansing and Ann Arbor, I also felt overwhelming peace. Because this felt so crazy to me that I knew it wasn’t about me anymore. It was about God and the ways he wanted to work when I threw all my expectations out the window.

And the whole weekend I was existing in this unique place where extreme uncertainty meets irrational peace. I met about a million new people, including my awesome Yosemite team. I braved a Colorado snowstorm to go for a walk, underdressed in my light jacket and sneakers that had been appropriate for 60 degree Michigan weather. I learned about planning worship and about campground walking and that there are in fact bears in Yosemite.

I had conversations about the depth of God’s love and about leaving my comfort zone. I was challenged to think about what I was expecting from the summer, and what I hoped for. I talked with a team member who went to Yosemite last summer and promised me that it would change my life.

And as I sat in the Denver airport for the seventh hour in a row on my way home (for me, delayed flights are like that nosy great-aunt who shows up pretty frequently, and exactly when she’s not needed,) I had plenty of time to think about all of this. And I was having trouble writing anything significant, but I typed this out on my blank computer screen:

What would our lives look like if we stopped being afraid of what we didn’t understand? If instead of shying away from the miraculous and the dangerous and the crazy, we leaned into it?

Flying across the country to spend the summer in a national park, cleaning bathrooms and leading worship services, doesn’t make sense on my resumé. It’s not within my comfort zone or part of my five-year plan. I have absolutely no idea what this summer is going to look like.

But here’s the thing. God does. He is in the business of the miraculous and the crazy. He is a God who moves mountains, who causes whole armies to flee, who walks on water and calms storms and defeats giants.

He meets us in the middle of our uncertainties, doubts, and fears. And He reminds us that, for Him, this is familiar territory.

He is not shaken by my questions or worried about my inadequacies, not in an airport in Denver or a college in Michigan or even in Yosemite National Park.

God is simply calling me to trust, to proclaim the incredible depth of His love, and to live in the absolute certainty that wherever we are and whatever we face this summer, He is faithful.

"[ACMNP] strengthened our son's faith."
– April

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