My First Rock-N-Water Experience

The first time I came to Rock-N-Water to do the Backpacker Paluza, I was unprepared.  It wasn’t that I had packed too light or too heavy. It wasn’t that I was out of shape and couldn’t hack it on the trail.  It wasn’t that I hadn’t hydrated enough or eaten enough of the delicious and filling Rock-N-Water breakfast burritos.  No, it had nothing to do with anything physical—it was a different sort of unpreparedness.  I was not prepared for how small I would be.  Nothing the veterans to the backcountry told me could prepare me for the diminishing effect that our 6-mile hike could have on me.  What was it about this place that made me feel that I was a tiny ant schlepping my pack across the wilderness?

The trees reaching high into the sky told me.  The sheer cliffs, and the boulders,  and the mountains echoed it.  This place, void of man’s “improvements,” overflowing with the artistry of the great and mighty Creator of the universe, swiftly put things in perspective.  It is humbling to stand amidst the vastness of God’s creation, and to know that what your eye can see is just a small part of what He has made, and you are an even smaller part.  And even more humbling is the thought that His eye is on you, and His love and grace are extended to you, small and unworthy as you are.

That night, as I lay in my sleeping bag on the massive granite slab we called home for the week, I was again overwhelmed.  The neon lightshow overhead was mindboggling.  I was exhausted from a day of hiking, but I just couldn’t sleep.  I couldn’t close my eyes, captivated by the immeasurable stars in that perfect arc of a sky visible from our campsite.  And all I could think of was how great our God is, and Psalm 8 sprang to mind.  Who are we that He is mindful of us?

        Psalm 8 (NIV)

          1 Lord, our Lord,
             how majestic is your name in all the earth!
             You have set your glory
             in the heavens.
         2 Through the praise of children and infants
             you have established a stronghold against your enemies,
             to silence the foe and the avenger.
         3 When I consider your heavens,
             the work of your fingers,
             the moon and the stars,
             which you have set in place,
          4 what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
              human beings that you care for them?
           5 You have made them a little lower than the angels
              and crowned them with glory and honor.
          6 You made them rulers over the works of your hands;
             you put everything under their feet:
          7 all flocks and herds,
             and the animals of the wild,
          8 the birds in the sky,
              and the fish in the sea,
              all that swim the paths of the seas.
          9 Lord, our Lord,
             how majestic is your name in all the earth!

Our reading for the week was the book of Ephesians. In the first chapter, Paul described our rich inheritance in Christ, how God blesses us and adopts us into His family, as His children. This mighty God?  The One whose stars mesmerize?  The One whose words formed these mountain peaks?  The One who crafted innumerable wildflowers in the mountain meadows, and many faceted rocky crags, and stunning sunsets, and pristine ponds surrounded by trees of all kinds, and so very many shades of green, and me—so very small and imperfect, yet beloved?

Yes, that is my Father.  And I am perfectly happy to rest in His arms, knowing how big He is and how small I am.  Sometimes it takes a trip outside of the monotony of daily life to redirect your focus.  My Rock-N-Water experience did just that.  At the end of the week, I came home refocused, grateful for God’s love towards a small and frail being like me.

By Rachel Pritchard, 1st place winner 2016 Writing Contest