Tonight I visited the dock on Utah Lake for probably the last time this summer. The dock is a special place, even after dark. Especially after dark. I have been all over this country, and nowhere else does Heaven and Earth come together for me as much as it does there. This is kind of ironic, because the first thing I see when I look out across the dark lake is lights, city lights. These lights represent maybe a couple hundred thousand people. These lights come from Provo, Orem, Pleasant Grove, American Fork, Spanish Fork, Springville, and many other smaller Utah cities. Mormon cities. They don’t have those where I come from. Probably 95% of the lights that I see belong to a Mormon household. I’ve been here two summers and this still blows my mind.
Behind those lights I can barely make out the faint outlines of mountains, running the whole length of the shore of Utah Lake, trapping the little Mormon lights between a rock and a wet place. The mountains seem bigger at night. They don’t have those where I come from either. When I look above the mountains, I see stars, lots and lots of little lights that don’t belong to anyone, whether they are Mormon or Christian or otherwise. They just belong to God. They do have those where I come from. I guess we all get to share the stars.
I wasn’t alone out there tonight, either. There were some fishermen, even though it was dark. There were two stray kittens that always stayed just out of arm’s reach. And there were mosquitoes. There were probably as many mosquitoes out there as there were lights across the lake, so I didn’t stay very long. But I did stay just long enough to think about how big God is, and how small we are, and how crazy it is that one of the lights he put in the sky billions of miles away from us can shine just as brightly as a streetlight 7 miles across the lake from me. I thought how silly it was that I was standing in one of the prettiest places I’ve ever been and all I could think about was killing mosquitoes. I think that’s how we humans are all too often. We are supposed to notice something grand and beautiful or do something important or listen to God, and we just stand there swinging at the mosquitoes circling our head like we have no more brains than King Kong. And while we stand there swinging, Life walks right on by without us. We are silly people.
I also thought about how glad I am that the God who put the stars in the sky doesn’t get mad at me like I get mad at the mosquitoes, or else I might have already gotten squooshed. Or maybe he would have squooshed all those people across the lake. But I’m glad he keeps going after us like I kept going after those kittens. He loves me and he loves the Mormons in Utah, and he doesn’t give up when we insist on having our own way. He keeps chasing us, even when we keep on running and hiding under the picnic tables. We are silly people and he is an awesome God, “who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (I Tim 2:4) Let us pray that this be true for the people across the lake.
And so, Utah, I guess this is goodbye, at least for now anyways…