FENTON, MI – Breathtaking! That's the best word to describe what Shar and I saw during a hike to Pictured Rocks in Munising in the Upper Peninsula. We both grew up in Michigan but neither one of us had ever been to this fascinating place. We decided on the spur of the moment to make the trip. It wasn't our best planned outing to be honest, but it was an incredibly refreshing time together.
The cool wind and crystal clear blue water of Lake Superior were amazing. As we stood on the cliffs looking over the rock formations and the vastness of the lake, our hearts were moved to thank God for the beauty of His creation. We made our way down to the beach and walked hand in hand in the sand together taking in every moment of this idyllic setting. The sheer size of Lake Superior overwhelmed us. It looked more like the ocean than a freshwater lake. I read on a display in the park that Lake Superior is big enough to hold the other four Great Lakes combined and then some!
We didn't talk much as we made the mile long hike up the hill to our car. The sound of the waves eventually disappeared as we walked further away. Our breathing grew deeper, beads of sweat formed on our foreheads, and we felt muscles we hadn't used in a while. Yet somehow we felt alive, refreshed, and rested.
Our impromptu get-a-way was a spiritual experience. The natural beauty of Michigan moved us to worship. The glory of God was on full display in the cliffs, the water, the sand, the trees, wildlife, and flowers. We experienced the grandeur of God through the canvas of His creation. The Psalmist declared, "Great is the Lord, and highly to be praised, And His greatness is unsearchable" (145:3). I did a quick search through the Gospels and saw that Jesus often made His way to natural settings like mountains, the Sea of Galilee, and even wilderness places. These were quiet, less populated places where Jesus could seek God uninterrupted and spend time investing in His disciples. Jesus knew when it was time to withdraw and where He could refresh Himself. These moments, surrounded by the testimony of creation proclaiming the Glory of God, refreshed our awe of Him.
Getting away was also good for my relationship with Shar. We have been married for 38 years and are on a journey through this life "till death do us part." We've been through some incredible moments together that we will cherish the rest of our lives. We've also weathered some threatening storms, but we've done so together. Investing in us - in our relationship as husband and wife - is never a waste of time or money.
I have left a number of ministry settings, and they have all survived (some have even thrived) without me. Others can pick up where I left off, but no one can take my place in Shar's life or hers in mine. Many years ago, God gave me a verse for our marriage; "Let your fountain be blessed, And rejoice in the wife of your youth. As a loving hind and a graceful doe, Let her breasts satisfy you at all times; Be exhilarated always with her love" (Proverbs 5:18-19). During our time together, we laughed, we talked, we remembered, we dreamed, we had moments of silence that were not awkward at all, and we loved. Just being together renewed our love and made God smile.
We covered a lot of miles between our home and Marquette in this little get-a-way. We passed everything from densely populated areas to places where homes are few and far between. We talked about places we passed where we had churches punching holes in the darkness and places where we need churches. There were a lot of things we passed on our trip, but we didn't pass a single person in this state who God doesn't care about. Our little get-a-way rekindled in us the reality that God loves every person in Michigan and beyond. He knows each of them by name, but not all of them know Him. We were reminded that our work isn't done until all have heard the Good News of Jesus.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mike Durbin is the State Evangelism Director for the Baptist State Convention of Michigan. Before joining the state convention staff, Mike served as Church Planting Catalyst and Director of Missions in Metro Detroit since 2007. He also has served as a pastor and bi-vocational pastor in Michigan, as well as International Missionary to Brazil.