A big mountain pine beetle outbreak occurred south of the Harney Peak lookout tower, toward Cathedral Spires. (Photo courtesy Frank Carroll, Black Hills National Forest)
I try not to question how God speaks to me, whether it seems logical or makes sense in my carnal mind. I have only learned to know His voice, like a bellwether sheep; and as long as it does not conflict with God’s written word, then I have peace and go forward in faith, like a little child. I don’t try to figure it out. I look for what is God speaking? And that is how I ended up in South Dakota at a time few tourist go.
They had had a big snow just before we got there, and yet we had wonderful weather the whole time, and I had Harney Peak and Black Elk Trail all to myself, because I followed that voice. Now…as I hiked up that path…God was speaking to me of some native Indian? Named Black Elk? And how would this Black Elk have anything to do with me in my day, and my search for answers? I did not know.
I have shared only a very little so far, of the words Black Elk spoke that have confirmed so much to me, about the nature of man, and the darkness in his eyes. His words confessing he felt as a man who had been given a great vision too big for him; those words glued to my heart from the first time I read them. And I ask the question, have YOU ever felt that way about anything? Can you identify with the words of a wise man native Indian who lived before your time?
The fact God led me to this very mountain and this very path leading to a peak this native Indian once stood upon and had a great vision, and I knew nothing of any of this. I had heard of Crazy Horse and Bear Butte. I had been there too, but I knew nothing of all this until I began reading the book after I came down out of Harney Peak and Black Elk Wilderness, and happened to find one copy of his book at an old bookstore. This is how my journey to Micro Church began. How strange. How unpredictable. And now that I have made this point, I’d like to share a little more of the vision Black Elk had, because somehow I identify with that too. And I think most Christian will. How very strange.
I will follow this quote with a small parable of Jesus. See if you see any similarities?
Black Elk > “But now that I can see it all as from a lonely hilltop, I know it was the story of a mighty vision given to a man too weak to use it; of a holy tree that should have flourished in a people’s heart with flowers and singing birds, and now it is withered; and of a people’s dream that died in bloody snow.”
JESUS CHRIST > “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed planted in a field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but it becomes the largest of garden plants; it grows into a tree, and birds come and make nests in its branches.” (Matt. 13: 31-32)
Again, I feel the pain personally, in Black Elk’s words, because I have spent 60 years involved in this modern Church system, only to feel it has devolved into some money hungry machine, mass producing warped disciples, of which I am one. But having found a new tree flourishing! A tree resembling what Christ first spoke and did, I have found such a refreshing in my spirit man as I have never experienced before!
Scripture confirms God always has a true remnant! His Kingdom of Heaven tree has never ceased to flourish or provide rest and refreshing in its branches! So even though I know Black Elks pain on the one hand, I find myself rejoicing every day with the treasure found in the field! I did not die in the wilderness! Before my eyes did close in mortal death, God has blessed me so, and I could want no more! Here’s a poem I’ve been working on >
When my work is done, and my body spent, I will pass through one of many doors. There is but one I seek. The door of peace.
So many doors of regret, fear, and failure; but not this one.
Not the many doors of a wasted life and misspent time, but that one path of pure devotion. And tho my heart does anticipate, yet not before my time; God’s will, not mine.
Jesus told his mother, “It is not my time.” Yet to his Father he prayed, “Thy will, not mine.”
Even today if it be so, or much longer if God should choose, we seek this one door. The one labeled: Well done, good and faithful servant. This door I pray to see. This door I seek.
Filled with Holy Spirit and God-ambition, self melts away. He determines my day and the tasks thereof. An Enoch people. Steps ordered of the Lord. A life that soars. A fallen leaf flowing downstream.
Light and Day. God’s first creation to us, and they are one. Children of the Day! By way of Christ, not Moses! By way of Sarah, not Hagar!
Not a Covenant of laws cut in the dark! But a bright Covenant of Light! One was born in darkness… but the other in a rising Son!
Perfect love cast out all fear.
The life of regret is the fear of death. The lost die badly. They die in fear, disappointment, defeat, disillusionment, struggle, anger, and darkness. With many questions and few answers.
But children of the day burst the cocoon with visions of transformation! It is not an ending for them, but a greater beginning!
Of this they have no doubt!
The poem is still a work in progress, but getting close. Unbelievers will laugh at the faith of Believers. But at home in the dark, they do not laugh.
There is more to be said of Black Elk, and the journey we have made to new visions of understanding. More to come, next episode. Thanks for reading. If you like what you read, if it has blessed you in any way, or made you slow down and think, if you would hit the “like” button, it is very encouraging and appreciated. Thanks.
Harney Peak in Black Elk Wilderness will always be a special place to me. Picture yourself there and perhaps you might catch a glimpse of what I mean.