The Mighty Columbia
My first trip to the NW, to see about my first pastoring job, included a visit of the Columbia Gorge. We traveled about 40 miles east of the Pacific Ocean, down the Columbia river. Its headwaters begins in Canada. The majority of its flow runs the length of Washington State, making the Washington/Oregon border. Its total length is 1,243 miles.
Forty percent of all wheat exported from America is at one time or another barged down the Columbia. Its deep gorges are unbelievable in depth and beauty. The only place I know where you can windsurf in both directions, on the same day. Simply pick a side and you are off!
I was 28 at the time. Three men from the Puget Sound Baptist Association were with me. We stop at the outlook featured in the picture above. We also stayed a while at Multnomah Falls.
On the return trip, the oldest man in the car that day, related how he had spent over 40 years in the NW, preaching the gospel. He had been bi-vocational, and had worked as a barber all those years. His wife had been a school teacher. They had come from another region of the country. Knew nobody here when they came.
My adventure was about to begin in 6-weeks. I was coming in; and he was retiring because of illness. I was in the front seat. He leaned up and laid his shaky hand on me and said, “God is faithful, my wife and I wondered what we would do as we got close to retirement, not by choice, but because our bodies could not bear the heavy load of pastoring any longer. We had very little savings,,,,( a man in the car interrupts saying, ‘Yea, because he gives a lot away to needy people’).
He continues, ” We did not know what we were going to do, we decided to sell everything and hope that lasted till we were gone from this earth. The very night of that decision an old friend of mine called and said he knew we had to be close to retiring. He said he had enough money for us to retire in great comfort for over 20 years, and more if needed.”
An all- stop moment, all of us cry, all of us laugh, a few biblical jokes, perhaps a guy thing. I don’t know, but I do know that was a moment I needed.
So, while cruising down the Mighty Columbia, I hear of this Mighty God, faithful to the very end to one of his servants. So whether you are 28 or 100 plus or regions in between, remember the faithfulness of God. Don’t fret.
Psalms 37:23-26 “The steps of a man are established by the Lord, and He delights in his way. When he falls he will not be hurled headlong, because the Lord is the One who holds his hand. I have been young and now I am old. Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his descendants begging for bread. All day long he is gracious and lends, and his descendants are a blessing.” 2/8/18 JWP