We live in a beautiful part of the world. It is easy to take what we see on a daily basis and ignore it or just take it for granted. The best way for me to charge my emotional batteries is to get out into the many beautiful places that are available to us. For me, it is a spiritual experience to hike, and as I hike to listen. I hear the wind whispering through the trees, I hear the water falling over the rocks as it flows down the mountain, I hear the birds reminding me that this is their home and I smell the freshness of the forest.

Over the years I have hiked most of the trails in Glacier, the North Fork, the South Fork and the Swan and Mission mountains. My hiking partner has been my wife. Together, we have spent our days off in the solitude of the mountains, allowing God to recharge our batteries.

One of my favorite hikes has been to Nausakoin mountain in the North Fork. It is remote. It takes three different trail systems. The start is up to Link Lake, then on to the Lake mountain trail, then finally the long haul past the Chain lakes and on up to Nausakoin. 15 miles round trip. But, to stand on top of that mountain and look across the upper North Fork and to view the beautiful Livingston range of mountains, that stretch from Canada down to Lake McDonald is for me, a spiritual experience. I have been there several times, and long to do it again, if my body would cooperate. I do not know why it is so easy for me to communicate with God in these settings, but they have molded me, and I have dumped many toxic emotions along the trail.

I have met God on many of these journeys. I have listened as He talked to me, and my soul has been refreshed as I look at the beauty I see. Can the beauty of nature be replaced? I think it can. At the close of Jesus life, he said to His Apostles, “I go to prepare a place for you…”. Have you ever wondered what that “place” will be like? I have stood on the tops of some of our mountains, looking off as far as the eye can see, and wondered, how can anything be more wonderful than this? What kind of a “place” is Jesus preparing for us and how will I respond? There is a song we have sung in church that says, “I can only imagine…”. Have you ever imagined what it is that Jesus is preparing?

One of the books I just finished reading was a biography of Eugene Peterson’s life. Peterson is the man who translated the entire Bible into a paraphrase, called “The Message”. He passed away a few years ago, His family was gathered around his bed in those final moments of his life. He had been unable to communicate with them, but as the end came, he opened his blue eyes in wonder and exclaimed “Wow”. Then, he was gone. Did he see something that no one else in that room could see? Did he see, the “place”?

Death is a journey we all must take, but it is so mystical. What lies beyond that last breath for the child of God? Many have asked that question. The Apostle Paul offers the best description I can give; he says, “…to be absent from the body is to be present with Christ,,,”. The question I want to ask is, what is that “place” like? What will I see and who will I see? What will the glorified Jesus look like?

Paul gives us a further glimpse in his writing to the church at Corinth. In 2 Corinthians 11, Paul is defending himself and explaining all he has suffered in getting the Gospel to all parts of the Mediterranean basin, including shipwreck, robbers, dangers of all sorts, rejection and pressure from Rome and the Churches. He then states, “I know a man who 14 years ago was caught up into the third heaven, into paradise and I heard inexpressible words which a man is not permitted to speak”. My curious mind asks, “Paul, what did you see in “paradise” and what “words” did you hear that are now inexpressible? My mind wants to know where death takes the child of God and what is it that I will see when that time arrives for me? Did Peterson see “the place” when, as he breathed his last, opened his eyes and exclaimed “Wow”?

The Apostle John sparks my imagination more as he writes in Revelation 21. Throughout the Book, John is attempting to put into words what is being shown him of what must come to pass upon the earth in the future. He says there will be catastrophes greater than any we have seen previously. However, as he closes the writings of his journal, he tries to put into writing what I think is “the Place” where Jesus told the Apostles He was going. Listen to him In Revelation 21: “…he showed me the Holy City of the New Jerusalem coming down from heaven, having the glory of God”. “Her brilliance was like a very costly stone…it had great high walls…there were four gates, each made of pearl…the city had 12 foundations,…the city was laid out in a square with the length, as great as its width and it height is equal…the foundations of the city were inlaid with all kinds of precious stones…the city had no need for the sun for the glory of God has illuminated it…there shall be no night in that city…and its inhabitants are those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of Life”.

The life we live is so demanding. It can be like a giant tornado that sweeps us up and carries us along to an uncertain future. Our days become a blur. It is like being in a fast moving vehicle watching the fence posts go by so quickly that I cannot count them. Have we lost sight of “the place” that Jesus said he was going to? He continues in verse 3,” …I will come again and receive you unto Myself that where I am you may be also”.
How do we keep that hope alive? How do we keep life from overwhelming us? It seems to me that it is more than just keeping it fresh in my memory through my own effort. Rather, it is the work of the Holy Spirit working constantly with me, reminding me “This world is not my home, I’m just a passing through…”. In the midst of the Apostle Paul’s life and all he went through, he saw what is beyond describing in human language and heard words that were unspeakable.

I have a very physical memory of what I saw as I stood on top of Nausakoin. That memory is very physical. I have not yet seen “the place” Jesus is preparing, but I want the Holy Spirit to keep that hope alive in me until I can open my eyes and exclaim “WOW”.

Share This post

New to Whitefish Assembly?

You can attend in-person or online! Plan your experience today!

New to Whitefish Assembly?

You can attend in-person or online!

Plan Your Experience

Plan Your Experience Form

Hi there! Can I get your contact information?

Want to pre-register any children?

What date would you like to schedule your visit?

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.


150 Lamb Ln, Whitefish, MT, 59937





Sunday Online & in-person Gatherings at 10:30 Am

Growing together through relationships with God and each other