For a long time I maintained a blog entitled “In the Shadow of Volcanoes.” The title describes, almost literally, our position beside two of the continent’s highest peaks. Viewed from Mexico City looking southeast, Ixtlaccihuatl lies to the left, next to her very active, imposing brother Popocatépetl. Their indigenous names describes them well. White Woman and Smoking Mountain.
Yesterday I drove up to over 12K ft. with friends Julian and Malú, to Paso de Cortez, or Cortez’s pass. As often is the case, the day was less than clear as we approached the snakelike road that led us higher and higher, but I knew that this way would lead us above the clouds and haze. Although we weren’t awarded with a totally clear view of Popo’s white peak, the ash that slowly rises from his crater reminded us of the awesome power that the mountain possessed. A quick glance behind us to Ixtla’s ragged peak was a reminder of what could happen if Popo decided to blow his top.
The volcanoes constantly remind me of a spiritual truth. Many days, those mighty peaks are obscured by low lying haze, or hidden by cumulus clouds. But the clouds do not erase their presence, or negate their power.
I have a friend, a new believer, who is going through a horrific time right now. His family has been threatened and his source of livelihood endangered. He has been forced to pay out thousands of dollars in extortion money. He has come into contact in a personal way with the hideous face of organized crime, and its cowardly lackey, a corrupted police force. I prayed for him two days ago. After I finished, he prayed a simple prayer. “Lord, have mercy on me. If I have done anything that has angered You, please forgive me!”
We are reading The Chronicles of Narnia together as a family. I don’t believe I had ever read the opening, introductory book entitled The Magician’s Nephew. In it, C.S. Lewis introduces us to Narnia, and to the Lion, Aslan.
To witches and the wicked, Aslan is terrifying, but for good souls and children, Aslan is irresistibly beautiful. He is everywhere, watching, and He will judge someday. In the meantime, He rarely allows Himself to be seen.
He is not seen, and is veiled by violence, hidden by injustice. He is nonetheless present. All the trials of this present world can no more blunt His power and avert His piercing eyes than a wispy cloud can stop the red-hot lava of a live volcano.
Dear God, I ask you to show Your power to my friend. Let him know Who You Are, and break the teeth of his enemies. I ask you to have mercy on them. I ask you to destroy them. If you choose to remain in the shadows, oh dear God, give us all the faith to know that You are strong, and that You love us.