One beautiful summer day , more than several years ago, my husband and I climbed to the peak of Mt. Outram, an 8,000 ft. B.C. mountain. Standing on a mountain peak always reminds me of the verse in Amos 4:13 , “For, lo, he that formeth the mountains….. treadeth upon the high places of the earth, The LORD, The God of hosts, is his name.…” It is easy to believe that the mountain tops is where God walks because the hustle and bustle of the world is so far away..… the silence is profound… there is not another human being within sight nor any evidence that he even exists. Your senses are heightened and your mind is clear. It is intoxicating to breath the fresh mountain air.
When finally we reached the summit of Mt. Outram that August day , after a good 7 hours of climbing, we stood on the desolate rocky area that defined the highest point of the mountain. Very little vegetation grew here, in fact, the last couple of hours of climbing comprised of rock scrambling. But my eye was immediately drawn to the only bit of colour on this grey expanse. A brilliant , beautiful blue flower. I was amazed to find such a lovely thing growing here and I went over to examine it more closely… It was so pretty I was sure it must have a sweet scent and I bent down to smell. Immediately , I pulled back in disgust…. “Oh, “ I exclaimed to my husband.. "a skunk sprayed directly on this flower.” My husband insisted no skunks lived in that high altitude, I was just as adamant that it had obviously been there. Later, when we were back home I searched our wild flower books to find out about this amazing flower. I finally found it… ‘ Sky Pilot, a blue flower growing in high altitudes identified by its unmistakable skunk smell’.
I never forgot this little flower, although I have never seen one since , and I still value the lessons it taught me.
1. It taught me about how God judges worth. The flower’s beauty seemed almost a waste… There was no one to appreciate it’s offering… no one except God. I know some people who live their life in comparative obscurity … people who never seem to be appreciated… they work behind the scenes, out of the limelight, - their life seems to lack significance as this world measures significance. Yet they have value and worth in God’s eyes… they are part of His eternal plan.
2. It taught me to look for beauty in the desolate times of life. Sometimes this life does not seem worth living.. All around is nothing but the grey cold of life’s harshness. Difficult circumstances, unbearable grief, insurmountable obstacles , endless drudgery…. yet if we look for God’s gifts we will find them all around us ..His love is eternal and His tenderness and wisdom unfailing.
3. It taught me about faithfulness. The Sky Pilot did not ask question its purpose or position in life. It just bloomed where it was planted. And so we too serve God by being faithful where we find ourselves… whether or not anyone notices, whether or not we have answers for all our questions.
4. It taught me about God’s care and about His protection. Because the Sky Pilot has a very short growing season in a very harsh environment its very survival is in peril. But God placed His hand of protection over it … He gave it the offensive scent of a skunk so no animal looking for food would be tempted to nibble on this delicate morsel. It made me wonder if some of the things that ‘stink’ in our life are in reality the protection of God over us. Does He bring some things into our life to protect us from some evil that would otherwise destroy us?
5. And lastly the Sky Pilot is blue , the color of heaven. It taught me that we can bring a bit of heaven into this dark world by simply blooming in our place and reflecting the glory of the One whose face we behold. II Cor. 3:18