Friday, August 22, 2008

The Flood

Yesterday I visited a place unlike any other I have ever seen. Just outside Rock Springs, Wyoming is the Red Desert. When I say "just outside" I mean a seventeen mile drive over unimproved road (locals call it a county road!) to the first DOI destination, ancient native American Indian petroglyphs carved into sandstone cliffs. A mere mile away from there is a natural formation called the "Boar's Tusk". Another eight miles and the capstone of the panorama shows up and you can clearly see the evidence of what we know as the great flood.

Immense sand dunes rise up from the desert floor. Wind whips the sand and bites your legs if you are foolish enough like me to get out of the car wearing shorts. Even crazier was the taking of pictures with a very expensive camera. Sand and dust quickly infiltrate everything. So my family and I jumped out, took the shot, and jumped back in the car before it was swallowed up in sand (literally it was piling up around the tires in just a short time!)

Looking out from this harsh landscape at the bottom of the world, you can see the rim of mountainside surrounding this spot in all directions. Striations are clearly seen on the cliffs where this once ancient body of water existed and left behind its bed as it disappeared. This is no small area. It is hundreds of miles in circumference. But the best was yet to come.

As we left the area on another unimproved road to get back to the highway, we saw a herd of cattle down below. This desert seemed hardly the place to support any such life. I told my kids that if we got a flat tire, it was unlikely that we could survive the seventeen mile walk to get out. The sun was high, the wind was fast, and there was no cover. Worst of all, there was no water. Drought has hit this land hard this year. Mud cracks and salt packs are everywhere.

That's what made this part of the Oregon Trail so dangerous to the uninformed. What appeared to be fresh water was in fact poisonous alkali salt. Cattle died. People died. If enough provisions were not carried, or if fresh water was not running in the river, then death was imminent.

Yet there it was down at the bottom of the desert, a small spring surrounded by a herd of cows. I only saw it because I was curious what kinds of animals were down there. Earlier we saw a few pronghorn antelope. These skittish creatures don't linger long for photo-ops! My binoculars enabled me to identify the cattle and catch the glint of water from the bright sun. A few miles further up and a sign at a crossroads confirmed that indeed, "Chicken Springs" was just down the way.

What does all this have to do with the Biblical flood? Read the evidence and see it for yourself. Here is a great example of the fountains rising up from the deep and water covering the whole earth. All that is left now is evidence of that water recession, sand dunes, and a tiny spring (from the deep - it must be for the surface water is poison).

This has to be one of the most remote and spectacular places I have ever seen and touched. Truly God is merciful and mighty that He would leave this all behind for us. It is a reminder of His power and grace, His hatred of sin, the ultimate demise of this world, and the new heaven and earth to come.

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