Saturday, May 23, 2009


The Beauty of the Big Sur

One of the most beautiful drives I have ever driven was California's scenic Highway 1 through the Big Sur region. A number of times I had speaking engagements in the San Francisco area and would travel to view this area always to our delight.

The northern end of Big Sur is about 120 miles south of San Francisco, and the southern end is approximately 245 miles northwest of Los Angeles.

Usually we would stay in Monterey, which was the capital when it was the Spanish colony of Alta California; or Carmel-on-the-Sea, so we would have more daylight for the outstanding beauty.

Big Sur is a sparsely populated region where the Santa Lucia Mountains rise abruptly from the Pacific Ocean. The name "Big Sur" is derived from the Spanish-language "el paĆ­s grande del sur", "the big country of the south". Between 10 miles south of Carmel and 30 miles north San Simeon on Highway One, for about 50 miles, the Santa Lucia range plunges directly into the Pacific. Waves pound big boulders offshore. Big Sur's Cone Peak is the highest coastal mountain in the lower 48 states, ascending nearly a mile above sea level, only three miles from the ocean.

One of the most photographed bridges on this route is the famous Bixby Bridge. Going south after crossing the bridge, you have an overlook that pushes out into the ocean allowing you to look back from a higher level in an angle to gain a marvelous view of it. This is just one of the many turnoffs where you can view the wondrous scenic coastal drive.

On one occasion, my wife and I saw a road up a mountain that offered one a very high elevation with many parking areas at the top. When we finally found an available spot, we began to walk to an observation point when we noticed a man with his back near a steep ledge that dropped for hundreds of feet. I watched him lift a couple of cords and suddenly the bursting wind filled his rectangular parachute that was unnoticed on the ground. He immediately ascended high into the sky above us. For quite awhile, I watched him circle high above us and the valley far below him.
What a sight! I still shake just remembering what could have happen to him had the chute not opened when it did.
This lingering memory reminds me of the ascension of our Lord who accented into heaven and will come again that we may also be with Him. If we are alive we will also ascend or if we have already died we will be caught up together to be with him. In either case it will be the blessing the believer is waiting for.

“And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died. We tell you this directly from the Lord: We who are still living when the Lord returns will not meet him ahead of those who have died. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the Christians who have died will rise from their graves. Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever. So encourage each other with these words.” --1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. NLT

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