Taking a closer look at God's gifts...

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Life in Alaska brings many surprises. Some are as magnificent as snowcapped mountain peaks, earthquakes, or erupting volcanoes. Others are as common as delicate wildflowers, the sight of a bald eagle high overhead as it loops in lazy circles on invisible wind currents, a mama moose and her babies out for a stroll and a little grass-grazing, or a pair of bull mooses duking it out along side the road.

And then there are the other surprises--the ones you always hope you'll run across, but secretly doubt will ever happen. At least that's the way my daughter, Darice, and I felt a few evenings ago when we drove up the Arctic Valley Road to hunt for a pair of sunglasses I thought I'd dropped earlier in the day while on a ride with a mutual friend, Lisa. I'd emptied my purse and searched Lisa's van twice before deciding I'd dropped them on the mountainside while taking photos. So we climbed into our Explorer and went in search of a $12.00 pair of sunglasses on a remote mountain road. (I'm nothing if not cheap. We probably spent that much in gas just looking for them.)

That's when things changed. While retracing our route up the steep, gravel mountain road, we rounded a curve and ran smack-dab into this black bear cub munching on dandelions alongside the road. We crept up on him slowly (in the car, of course--no getting eaten by irate mama bears for us!), but there was no need for sneaky maneuvers. He was oblivious to most anything but those delicious dandelions.

As we approached him, a pickup sped by us, spitting gravel and dust and no doubt cussing us out for having pulled over to the side of the road. We thought the bear would certainly have bolted, but when the dust settled, he was in the same spot. For the next forty-five minutes, Darice and I took pictures of this little guy as he devoured one after another of the gangly weeds. He looked up once in a while to stare at us, pose for photos, or scan the roadside for his next big bite. We talked to him (turns out he wasn't much of a conversationalist), marveled at his beauty, and thanked God for the opportunity to witness nature at its finest. We may never see him again (although you can bet your bottom dollar we'll look!) and have no idea whether he was orphaned or simply had a very laidback mama who was perhaps napping nearby. At any rate, she never showed up, but then we never got out of the car to bait her, either. No sense in pressing our luck.

Just when I think we've had the most fantastic of all possible experiences up here, God provides another, even more unbelievable one, for us. This was a perfect example of God using the tiniest, most inconsequential of circumstances to lead us to His gifts.

And no, I didn't find my sunglasses on that mountain road. Of course, I didn't give a hoot after having seen what God led us to in our efforts to regain them.

When we drove back into our driveway, Lisa walked over and handed my missing sunglasses to me. They'd been in her van, after all. Thank You, Heavenly Father, for blinding me to their presence so we could run across Your most precious present alongside the road during our search. It's amazing, isn't it, how searches so often end up leading us to Him?

See you along the trail...

1 comment:

  1. Awesome experience, Deb! Amazing photo. Maybe you'll find him again someday.