Glimpses of Grace

June 26, 2015 | Bethany Cok

This morning, when I rolled over to hit snooze on my phone alarm, I happened to notice the date on the illuminated screen. June 25.  I’ve been here in Yosemite for exactly a month, I sleepily realized before shutting my eyes again.

I have no idea how time is passing this quickly, but this past month has been one of the most eye-opening, unexpected, and challenging months I think I’ve ever lived through. Summarizing that entire time in a single blog post is definitely outside of the realm of possibility in anything shorter than my memoirs, so don’t worry, I won’t aim for that.

As I was sitting at the shuttle stop this afternoon, waiting for the hybrid bus that would take me into Yosemite Village so I could restock on Clif bars, I tried to figure out exactly what I wanted to say about my time here so far. Did I want to describe my glamorous (and highly entertaining) janitorial job? Should I talk about the hiking I’ve done and the beauty of this park? What about describing my ministry team and our Sunday services?

And as I was pondering this, I realized that there was one question that, to me, is the most important one to answer in the midst of everything I’ve lived and experienced here so far.

How have I seen God?

I let the weight of that question hang on my shoulders during the shuttle ride, in the store, and as I walked outside, dwarfed by the granite cliffs that rise above me in all directions.

And answers began to wash over me in waves, slowly at first but then so fast I couldn’t even write them all down, small moments of God’s faithfulness, glimpses He has shown me of Himself and His love.

I have seen God in the setting sun reflected over Half Dome, in the rainbowed mist rising from Vernal Falls, in the snow-covered mountains I can see in the distance if I hike up to the top of the valley. I’ve seen Him in Skype and phone calls with friends whose love and support is tangible from 3000 miles away. In the faith and friendship of my ministry team, in the contentment I am learning even in cleaning bathrooms, in impromptu jam sessions and growing confidence in leading worship.

For a long time, I have been living the crazy life of an overcommitted college student, moment to moment, stressed and always a little bit overwhelmed. Here in Yosemite, I am no longer too busy or so consumed with other things that I forget to look for God. And everywhere I look, there He is. Present in the beautiful moments and in the difficult ones.

And despite the challenges of living in a completely unfamiliar place with unfamiliar people, I am finding myself overwhelmed with the beauty that surrounds me and the grace that God is pouring out on me, day by day. 

He is gently opening my eyes to His faithfulness in the midst of my days, reminding me that His mercies are new every morning and that He is present in every moment.

"This experience deepened my assurance of calling to the ministry and sharpened the skills I will need for congregational leadership."
– Kam, Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond 2011

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