Prior to last night, things have been bone dry in Snowmass Village and across the Rocky Mountains.  Above average temperatures, intense sunlight, and long daylight hours have wilted plants, turned lawns brown, and trails have begun to look like the Chihuahuan Desert.

The other day, an hour or so before sunset, I took a hike along the southern Rim Trail.  It is a great trail with breathtaking astonishing views. As I walked along, I quickly noticed that I stirred up quite a bit of dust with every step.  There was so much dust I began to feel like Pig-Pen in the Peanuts cartoon.

About 30 minutes into the hike, something caught my attention.  A magnificent wildflower which is pictured in this e-letter.  Given how dry everything had been, I was surprised to see such a beautiful flower. But there it was.

As I thought about being surprised by seeing a flower despite drought conditions, I began reflecting upon the many things that have caught me off guard, the unexpected events that have come into my life, both good and bad.  I then thought about God and how in some ways God is much like that wildflower.

Our God is a God who continually shows up in unexpected ways and in surprising places.  Sometimes God’s presence is subtle and it can be hard to see God walking right alongside of us.  But unlike the wildflower whose existence is transient, God’s presence is not and God is with us regardless of the conditions we are enduring.  There is no place, no circumstances, where God is not.

I love the words found in Psalm 139. “I can never escape from your Spirit.  I can never get away from your presence!  If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave, you are there.  If I ride the wings of the morning, and if I dwell by the farthest oceans, even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me.  I could ask the darkness to hide me and the light around me to become night – but even in darkness I cannot hide from you.  To you the night shines as bright as day.  Darkness and light are the same to you.”

As we journey through life this week, I pray that like seeing a wildflower on a dusty trail, each of us will encounter God in surprising ways and places.  That we will be given the eyes to see God acting through whatever challenges we are faced with.  And that even if things are feeling barren, lifeless and hopeless, that we will trust that God is with us no matter what.