Friday, April 3, 2009

Across the prairie

As we drove to Kansas over the last two days, I was reminded about pioneers on the Oregon Trail. Many of the roads we took on our trip paralleled that famous trail and I was once again utterly amazed that anyone ever went west to settle this wonderful country.

Even today there are a great many miles of vast open prairie - much of which is now cultivated in farmland or providing rangeland to cattle. Miles and miles of flat open, treeless (or very nearly) prairie.

I can only imagine the thoughts of a young woman as she sets out with her husband to yet another day of endless prairie. Traveling west on the Oregon Trail was a journey that often started in April and was lucky to finish by September. The travelers faced a great many trials on the way west. The weather alone was a tremendous adversary. We found a bit of that ourselves as we came through a couple of blinding snows.

I think of how hard it must have been to know that God was calling you to this trip west. There was no travel agent to help you along--no major cities or roads. Just a handful of watering holes and forts, and a seemingly endless stretched of wagon ruts that appeared to go on forever.

What faith--what complete trust those people must have had. Faith that their guides could get them to where they wanted to go. Faith that the end of the trip would be worth the problems they might endure along the way. Faith in God to bring them through.

I often joke about being made of pioneer spirit, but after feeling completely worn out from crossing 1300 miles in two days, in a very comfortable Suburban, with well ordered rest stops and the ever present McDonald's along the way, I kind of think maybe I wouldn't have been such a great pioneer, and I find myself very grateful to be resting comfortably in a nice hotel.

Blessings on your journey.

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