I make a trip of a lifetime with my daughter this past month. Our trip had several stops and intents but our first stop was Yellowstone Park. We packed the car and took off singing, talking, and laughing early one morning. We reach our destination 2k miles later.
When we arrived were taken aback by all the elk that surrounded the entrance of the park and hotel. We read up on all to see at the park we imagined how amazing it would be to see a bear, wolf, moose, and baby buffalo that we called, ‘lil buf.’
The next morning we got an early start. With coffee in one hand and a map in another Livie gave me directions setting us out to the Northeast entrance. As we started our way we discovered wherever there was a gathering of cars there was animal activity. We saw unbelievable landscapes, from snow-covered fields to mountain tops and crisp waterways that waved in and throughout our drive. It was glorious and my words fail to describe God’s majestic handiwork – We were captured!
As we drove twenty miles an hour with temps in the thirties looking all about to see buffalo, unusual birds, and magnificent pine trees. We drove up on a group of visitors with binoculars pointing to a steep hill about a mile away. A lady waved us over as we were driving by. We stopped and she invited us to see a wolf walking around her den. We were fascinated to see this beast of a creature moving about her den. It was a wow moment and we were mesmerized! Livie and I said to one another, “There’s one we hoped to see.”
I wonder if God is like this to us, waving us over to take a look as we drive by.
As we continued driving northeast we saw fewer visitors as the terrain changed. The fields were vast with dark green blush pine trees as a forest wall backdrop. The fields were filled with buffalos in groups, as schools of fish. Livie spotted small buffalos around one particular group and she grabbed her binoculars to witness a ‘lil buf’ prancing around kicking its legs as to say she was glad to be alive. These little ones are deep orange when they are first born and these were playful with their peers amidst their elders that weigh a least a ton a piece – Another marked off our list.
We continued our journey but now it was due west with our final stop at Old Faithful which was about seventy-five miles away. We continued down the road exploring see the hot springs and geysers. We came around a turn to find a group of cars stopped mid-road and along the curb. We stopped to find a young grizzly laying on his back chewing on a four-foot branch and rolling around. He was a joy to watch and we treasure the moment knowing another one from our list was seen. We set off determined we were going to see a moose even though there are less than 200 in the whole park.
We finally made it to Old Faithful. We sat waiting almost an hour waiting for the geyser to do its stuff. We finished our evening after the spout of boiling water shot from the earth. As we drove to our hotel we were stopped by a herd of buffalo in the roadway. We had buffalo in front of our car, three or four on both sides of the car. We were so excited we were telling each other what to do at the same time. It was intense, mind-blowing, with loudly exciting in Livie’s car (you have to know us). We concluded with deep reflections on our day. The moose sighting not happening was a little disappointing but we were blessed.
The next morning we gathered our stuff with the intention of finding the best place for coffee at the West Gate … We found it, and now we were heading toward Boise for the birth of my granddaughter. We decided to get the usual pic standing by the Yellowstone sign before we left. We were tired and full of life starting our new day. As we drove through the center of what seemed to be miles of snow-covered fields with once again its backdrop of deep green pine trees. As I was trying to get a conversation going with Livie she belted out, “Look at that horse running by itself in the field by the trees.” I thought to myself those legs looked pretty thin to be a horse. Then Livie says, “It is a moose…pull over pull over!” After her peering through her binoculars Livie said, “It is a moose Dad!” I looked, she looked again and then I did again, then we watched it stride up between two large pine trees to disappear into the forest. We were floored, overwhelmed, and just all struck by what we just witnessed.
I tearfully said, (You have to know me) “I can’t believe we saw a moose. I can’t believe the Lord granted this gift. I just can’t believe it,” I repeated this with Livie agreeing with me. I stopped myself mid sentenced to pause to think about what I heard myself say, “Can’t.” (There was a man that told Jesus, “I do believe, but help me with my unbelief.”) After this thought, I said with peace,… “No Livie, I can believe that God granted us this small gift. He knows our small and big hopes and smiles upon us in our joys.” (Unless your faith becomes like a little child you cannot enter heaven.) Can I grow in my belief in the Lord by saying, “Can’t”?
I came to a different level of belief that day. I do believe God blessings us with those little desires and longings in ways that surprise us. The trip with my daughter was a long-awaited desire from decades ago that fell into my lap. A silly but hopeful list of sites to see at a park was delightful and full of grace. I believe more fully now than ever that our heavenly Father longs for us to learn to live in this love that He has for us as if waving to us to stop and look.
Ephesians 3…so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
God desires for us to experience His love and its depths. His love is incomprehensible and I settle for so much less. To be filled with all His fullness and to experience His life afresh in us – this is life abundantly that He came to give to us. My trip with my beautiful daughter was full of deep discussions, shared scripture, and loud ‘thumb mic’ worship, with shared tears and laughter. We were full not because of each other but because of who was with us, spilling out His love upon us. Everything good comes from Him – we can believe Him!
If you need space to talk about your longings and desires in a prayerful present with another feel free to reach out.