The summit of Black Elk Peak is a sight that will never fade from my memory. Towering above the earth at 7,242 feet, the view from the peak one sacred September dawn made my spirit soar. On a spontaneous camping trip with my brother, we decided to venture on the eight mile Black Elk Peak trailhead. Never expecting to witness the beauty before us, the crisp cool breeze of that day invited me to witness the glory of God’s creation in a new light.
The morning of our hike was one of those mornings where all creation glistened in the glory of a new day. The trees swayed in the wind and the critters greeted us with a joy. With the rising sun, our journey began. The terrain was a rocky, uphill battle and my body was growing increasingly tired with each step. I willed myself to push through the tightening leg muscles and rapid heartbeat. Although I wanted to stop, my body would not allow it. Nature was beckoning me to keep going. The wind taunted me, promising a beautiful secret to share at the end of the long journey. The wind was right, there was something special about that particular morning at Black Elk Peak. When I arrived at the summit, the imagery before my eyes was not of this world—it was heavenly.
The sky looked like a majestic roaring sea. The clouds took on a new form, covering all of the surrounding land. As I stood before this grandeur in wonder, the spirit of God spoke to the depth of my soul. God was present everywhere, like a mass of clouds hovering over all of creation. The expanse of clouds over the hills and valleys that day reminded me of God’s all consuming presence in the world and in my life.
Unexpected moments are often the most sacred. God grants moments of awe to remind us of his presence and power over the world. Black Elk Peak is now sacred to me. On that particular day on Black Elk Peak, the Holy Spirit unexpectedly showed up in the clouds like a grand sea in the sky. The wonder of that morning still haunts me. I long to go back and experience the profound presence of the Holy Spirit I witnessed, felt, and now treasure in the deepest parts of my soul. Psalm 139 states, “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast” (NIV). We cannot flee from his presence, it is like an all-consuming sea. Maybe one day I will again experience the overwhelming beauty of the Holy Spirit at Black Elk Peak, but I think that day was once in a lifetime. Until then, I will forever revere that sacred moment.
By Jenna Spellerberg.
I am a sophomore nursing major from Blair, Nebraska.