Just returned from a long sojourn into the Wild West! What an adventure! Thanking God for all the amazing sights and for safe travels. An especially wonderful sight was the beauty of my back door! There is no place like home!
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let your glory be over all the earth.
Psalm 57:11 – NIV
In May of 1804, the explorers, Lewis and Clark, accompanied by their Corps of Discovery embarked upon a mission of exploration. Traveling up the Missouri River, they aspired to locate the Northern Passage to the Pacific Ocean. Their team risked life and limb to explore this wilderness, braving the elements and discovering amazing wildlife, incredible landscapes, and fascinating indigenous cultures. The story of their travels opened the doorway to this previously uncharted territory and laid the foundation for the westward expansion of the United States of America.
On August 28, 2018, Anita and Eric Sherer embarked upon their own Core of Discovery, setting out for a five week trip across the country. Our travels spanned eighteen states and comprised 7627.5 miles. Our journey took us as far north as the Upper Penisula of Michigan and as far west as the Payette River of Idaho.
Crossing both the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers, riding through the prairies, peaks and high plains of what was once labeled the Dakota Territory, we had multiple Lewis and Clark sightings. From monuments to museums, we learned of Lewis and Clark’s travels through the region. With each unexpected sighting, it became our private joke that we were following the Lewis and Clark trail on our own Core of Discovery. Having never traveled through the Midwest or Western states, we were simply mesmerized by the bounty of the farmlands and the magnificence of the mountainous landscapes.
Our journey took us through the West Virginia mountains and the picturesque farmland of the Ohio Valley. We touched the shoreline of three of the five Great Lakes as we made our way toward the nearly five mile long Mackinac Bridge that allows passage to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The lush green farmland of Wisconsin and Minnesota gave way to the lonesome prairies of North Dakota and Montana. The fields stretched as far as the eye could see with corn, soybeans, sunflowers and hay. Never have I seen such wide open spaces.
Our explorations included seven national parks and countless state parks along the way. We strolled through the steamy mist of the geysers at Yellowstone and observed a herd of bison enjoying their morning breakfast. From our perch on Signal Mountain, we watched the dawn break over Jackson Hole as the first rays of sunlight kissed the Grand Teton Mountain range. We conquered the Hidden Lake Overlook Trail in Glacier National Park and spied the Presidential faces on the side of Mt. Rushmore. I stood on a steep ledge in the Badlands just waiting for a Wild West outlaw to come riding out of that desolate canyon. Our truck bounced down a dusty gravel road through the corn fields of Iowa just so I could walk across one of the historic covered bridges of Madison County. In St. Louis, I stood on the bank of the Mississippi River watching its waves roll along. Peering up at the impressive Arch that symbolizes the “Gateway to the West”, I smiled broadly, reflecting that we, like all the brave settlers so long ago, had heeded the cry to “Go West!”
Our Core of Discovery revealed God’s Glory: God’s Glory in the landscapes, His Glory in the wildlife, His Glory in the good people we met along the way. We treasured our experiences, learning so much about the history and culture of the places we explored. It was truly an exciting chapter in the story of our shared life together, a trip of a lifetime.
God was gracious to allow us safe travels, but also in preparing our way. Eric and I dreamed of such a trip for many years. However with my deteriorating vision, we were never sure that we would get to make the journey. God was indeed gracious in orchestrating our circumstances and enabling us to go.
Not only did God bless us with the opportunity, but He blessed me with the vision I needed to see those amazing sights. There are many days where my vision is quite distorted and blurry. Yet, all along the way, on the days when there was something important to see, my vision was miraculously clear and free of distortion. God was indeed gracious to allow me to see all the things I had dared to dream about.
On September 23, 1806, Lewis and Clark returned to St. Louis, hats flying in the air, celebrating the grand adventure they had undertaken. On October 1, 2018, Eric and I returned home, hats flying in the air and smiles on our faces as we gazed upon the welcoming sight of our back door, ready and waiting for us to enter. We are indeed thankful for all that we were able to see and experience. After 157 hours and 6 minutes of travel time in those truck seats, it is really good to be back home!
Friends, I do not know what discoveries await you today, but I do hope you will take a moment to explore God‘s beauty around you this day. For in every day, in every place we journey, there is evidence of God‘s Glory in our midst. There is beauty in the landscape, beauty in the sunrise, beauty in the good people we meet along the way. Today, may you savor that beauty and marvel at how it reflects God‘s Glory in your life. May you, like me, give thanks this day for all that God is doing in your life to give you pleasure, protection, purpose and Hope.
Praise be to his glorious name forever; may the whole earth be filled with his glory. Amen and Amen.
Psalm 72:19 – NV
O Gracious God, You know all our hopes and dreams, all our trials and tribulations. You know our going out and our coming in. You go before us into each new day and pave the way forward. Let us trust in You with our joys and our concerns that we might make the most of this beautiful journey You have sent us on. Thank You, Lord, for Your provision, Your protection and Your pleasures as we place our Hope in You alone.