Posts Tagged ‘Gold Rush’


The largest crystalline gold speciman in the world at Ironstone Vineyards.

It’s funny what happens when warm weather and the promise of spring come around.

Today, as I was driving along the rural highway where I live, I couldn’t help but notice the vibrant green that had sprung up virtually overnight. It’s like a day or two of sunshine, and all things that love the sun have come out. And, when I say everything, I mean everything, weeds included. Even dandelions look bright and festive when the winter has been long and unpredictable.

As I looked at the oak trees that dotted the meadows and rolling hills, along with the flowers that are starting to try to come out in all their purple, pink and yellow glory, I was amazed that God keeps it all going and it all belongs to Him.

In short, He not only made everything, but He owns it.

Since He owns it, I wonder why those of us who believe in Him do fret and worry about where the next dollar is coming from, where the next meal is coming from, where the money to pay the next bill is coming from, because it’s all His and he can provide for us any way that He chooses.

There’s an old story around the Mother Lode that there was a miner during the Gold Rush who was a highly religious man. He staked his claim next to all his wild living friends, but didn’t indulge in their lifestyle. He read his Bible many times everyday. He dug for gold and was convinced that the Lord would provide that gold for him.

Everyday before he dug he prayed out loud that the Lord would help him to find gold on his claim until those nearby were just a little sick of hearing him. They dubbed him ‘the Preacher’ because he was always telling them about the Lord. After a while, they decided to play a trick on him.

In the dead of the night, they each contributed their gold to the cause until they had quite a tidy amount of it. Then they snuck out to his claim and seeded his mining claim with it, just so they could have a big laugh when they told him that God didn’t provide the gold for him, they did.

You can imagine the next day how they were waiting with held breath for him to go to his claim and find the gold. They were not disappointed with his reaction, he was ecstatic with his find, praising the Lord who had provided for him on the claim that he just knew his God had led him to. When he told the other miners about the claim, they fessed up to their trickery and his face fell.

The story goes he was so disappointed in the Lord, that he hardly dug anymore after that and soon left the area because he was so despondent.

Which is how we get when the Lord provides something that we know He’s promised us but it’s delivered in a way we didn’t expect. Like through another person and not with some miraculous flair like we all would prefer, then we can point at it and say without a shadow of a doubt look at how the Lord provided for me in this miraculous way.

Somehow though it doesn’t matter who He works through, or what, because it all belongs to Him anyway because it’s His choice to provide for us the way He provides for us. And, quite frankly there are times when I think the fact that He provides for us through others is amazing, because let’s face it, working through failed humans and getting them to do what you want them to do  may be the most miraculous thing of all.

“So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”

Isaiah 55:11

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Indian grinding rock  398-3 ---7-28-80

Image by km6xo via Flickr


Next to my house, right outside my office window, there are rocks that jut out from the soil that are peppered with Indian grinding holes where presumably Mi-Wok women sat for hours grinding acorns into flour that they then used to make flatbread.

It never ceases to amaze me the amount of time it must have taken for them to grind out those holes in the rock. I’m sure there were indentations in the rock before they began, but now every one is a regular round shape despite its depth that shows anyone looking at them that they were formed by the same methodical movement of rock on rock.

Some of the holes are deeper than the others revealing that they have been worked on longer, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that they were indeed used by those women to make the acorn flour to feed their families.

There is never a time that someone comes to my house for the first time, and doesn’t comment on the rocks and their Indian grinding holes. It seems to surprise most people that such an amazing part of history can be located in such a pedestrian place as behind a small cottage in a small town.

Even though we have a wonderful state park dedicated to the preservation of the Mi-wok Indian culture at Chaw Se Indian Grinding Rock State Park that’s located about an hour away, my house is hardly the place where you would think you would see such a reminder of the past. In fact, I think that since the history of the little town of Murphys where I live is intertwined with miners during the Gold Rush, along with grape growing and wine making now, most people seem to forget that the Mi-Wok actually lived here before all that began.

Even though we all know there’s a history to every place we live, we seem to have selective memory and think that that history began when we arrived, which is a really odd thing when you think about it. And, even if we somehow have some sort of concept of the history of where we live, it only goes so far back. Like in Murphys when people only think so far back as the Gold Rush, when not only did the Mi-Wok people live here before the Gold Rush began and California became a state, but it was actually a province of Mexico before the Bear Flag Revolt.

There’s so much we don’t know. Yet, we seem to live as if we know it all, or, at least most of it, which is a really strange mental state of affairs when you think about it. And, it’s not just in the U.S. that we’re this way, you see it all over the world.

Scripture makes it very clear that we are here today and gone tomorrow, a mere vapor in the timeline of humanity or the Universe. Yet, we live in such a self-absorbed way that we’re convinced that our lives are so much more than that, when in reality most of us will leave less behind than those Mi-Wok women who spent their lives grinding out the grinding holes under my office window.

That’s why it really is remarkable to me that the only One who does survive time, and transcends it, should care about each and every one of us vapors. So much so that He not only looks down on us with a kind heart, but looks down on us with love, a sacrificial love, which is really what love is all about, to sacrifice oneself for the benefit of the one you love.

He not only looked down on us with the type of love in His heart, He did something about it.  He came down and showed what His love was all about by sacrificing Himself so something so insubstantial as vapors can have the chance of having a relationship with Him that goes beyond history.

“I will make my home among them. I will be their God, and they will be my people.”

Ezekiel 37:27

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