Beautiful Vernal Falls

Beautiful Vernal Falls

And a Beautiful Bride

vernal falls

Beautiful Vernal Falls

I dream a beautiful dream and sit in wonder as I remember.  I see myself less than two years ago, as I stood in the green summer grass of my mother’s backyard in a small Pennsylvania town.  Several dozen people have gathered for an event that only God, in His wisdom and grace, could have arranged.  The weather is ideal, with sunny skies, comfortable temperature, and a gentle breeze on a perfect July day.  I wait moment by moment for the climactic, nearly unbelievable, event that will change my life forever.  I wait to see the most lovely woman I’ve ever known–a woman who was the answer to prayers too numerous to count, extending over my lifetime.

This lovely woman’s name is Monica.  I had prayed for the woman of my dreams since my teenage years, aware that she would be unique in many ways.  I asked God for a woman who would love Him with all of her heart, a sincere and godly woman of character.  I also wanted a woman who would be able genuinely to love me, unworthy as I am.  I yearned for a pure and devoted woman whose entire life was committed to Jesus Christ the Lord and whose life was founded on God’s Word.  I had found such a woman, after countless years of incessant prayers.

Our meeting had been incredible and nearly miraculous.  Monica wanted to serve the Lord in her life and chose to take an elementary Bible course by email through the internet.  The grader for her completed lessons happened to be Rhonda, a sister in the Lord I knew from South Carolina.  This sister informed me of Monica’s interest in the Lord and then her coming to Christ.  I asked if I could encourage her in some way by writing to her.  With Monica’s permission, I did write and she wrote back.  This initial correspondence began a spiritual relationship that eventually became more than that.  First, through email, then through regular letters and tapes, then through short telephone visits, and then by means of long telephone conversations, we came to know each other more and more.

I recall walking at night, under the starry sky, with the moon glowing above, and lifting my heart to God my Heavenly Father about Monica, this dear woman I was coming to know.  I told the Lord that I didn’t know what all of this meant or how it would proceed, but I did ask that His will would be done.  I asked that if it was His will that this be the woman of my dreams and prayers, He would make this known to us in His own time and in His own way.  I knew that Monica–whom I came to know as ‘Moni’–was much younger than I was and was an entirely different culture, language, and country–but this didn’t seem greatly to affect our relationship at all.  God could work in all of this to His own glory if He so desired.

About one year later, I flew to Lima, Peru, where Monica had been born and continued to live.  I had the privilege of meeting her parents, relatives, friends, and grandmother–who had raised her.  My ten days there convinced me that Moni indeed was a lovely and unique woman of God.  Our love grew.  A half year later, Moni visited Texas for two weeks and during this time we deepened our relationship and planned our future together.

We had no idea how it would be possible for this love to come to fulfillment in light of the practical issues of entering the United States and living here, legally.  Moni chose to apply for a Diversity Visa, although this desired visa was very difficult to obtain.  The year that Moni applied for it, more than 10 million other people in the world also sought to obtain it, but the government only issues 55,000 of these privileged documents.  This means that only one in 200 would be able to receive such a visa.  Months went by, with much uncertainty and prayers, but finally, through the amazing grace of God, Moni learned the good news that she had been chosen to receive this visa.  She could now freely enter this country with no limitations!

That fall, Moni my love, was able to fly to the United States.  I recall meeting this lovely woman at the airport, aware that this was the answer to so many of our mutual hopes and prayers.  Over the following years, we faced many challenges–financial, employment, transportation, lack of time, lack of housing, and so much more.  Moni located a living place near where I lived which enabled us to regularly see each other and continue our plans.  Month by month, our love deepened and our plans were working out, with the help of the Lord.  Finally, after flying to Pennsylvania where I grew up, the special day of our marriage had arrived, and I anticipated the event that I had prayed for over the many years since I was a sensitive, wistful, and idealistic youth.  Moni and I would soon be united by the Lord and become one in His sight.

My mind returns to years earlier–in fact, some thirty-nine years.  I was traveling across the breadth of this land, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, from Canada to Mexico.  I had planned this journey for a year, a journey that few have ever taken.  For several months I traveled by car to most of the states, with several objectives.  I wanted to see this remarkable country personally and visit the leading scenic attractions, including most of the national parks and state capitals.  I wanted to explore where the Lord might want me to locate in the future after my education was completed.  I wanted to discover where God might want me to serve Him and what He would want me to do.  And, along with these challenging goals, deep in my heart, I had asked that God would lead me—perhaps in some mysterious but unfailing way—to the woman he had been preparing for me.

I traveled from one place to another.  From the pounding surf of the great Atlantic, to the Shenandoah region of Virginia, the tall Green Mountains of Vermont, the extensive forests of Maine, the verdant farmlands of Ontario, and the fertile Midwestern plains.  I proceeded westward to the snow-covered Rocky Mountains, the vast western ranchlands, the mighty Pacific Ocean, the timberlands of the Cascade Range, and the barren deserts of Utah, Nevada, and Arizona.  Onward I roamed, mile after mile, on this geographical odyssey and spiritual quest.

yosemite falls

Beautiful Vernal Falls and Yosemite Falls

Finally I arrived at the chief destination that had long been in my heart since I had visited the place years earlier.  It was the most inspiring point in all of my travels.  I refer to Yosemite National Park, in east-central California.  I anticipated this place ever since leaving Pennsylvania months earlier—and now I was approaching this dream.  The scenes were all so significant—the Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, Yosemite River, El Capitan, and Dome of the Rock.  All of it left me speechless.  All of it was the result of prayer and all of it inspired praise to the God who created it according to His wise design and plan.

vernal falls 7

 

The one location that touched me deeply, more than any other, was a particular waterfall, high in the park interior, that required a hike through the forest.  With increasing anticipation, I parked my car and thought of the place I would soon visit.  Step by step I walked on the trail, eager to see what I had seen years before.  The maples and conifers surrounded me as I continued on the trail.  Finally, after my prayerful trek, I sighted the goal–beautiful Vernal Falls.  I came to the rustic, wooden bridge that crossed the stream at the foot of the towering falls.  With deep emotion, with tears streaming down my cheeks, I gazed at this vista of my dreams.  The view was deeply touching and the hour was holy.

Vernal Fallse Yosemite

Beautiful Vernal Falls

 

I have always been sentimental in nature and this moment I was lost in my dreams, my hopes, and my prayers.  It was a holy rendezvous, a place where I met God in prayer, a place where I lifted my heart and pleaded–as I often had in the past–that He would grant me the woman of my dreams, the woman of His own choosing.  I lingered there for a long time, lost in the scent of the evergreens, in the freshness of the breeze, the sight of the towering hills, and in the sound of the falling water and rushing stream beneath the bridge.  God was there, though I know that He is everywhere.  But here was a place to meet Him in a special way, a way that stimulated love and brought faith in His promises to care for and provide for me, His own child.  It was a place to inspire hope in God’s providence and inscrutable plans for the future.  I prayed that the Lord would give me a wife, according to His will, His plan, and in His time.  Little did I know at that time that many years—perhaps half of my life—would pass by before He would answer my prayers with this gift of a wife.

vernal falls

Beautiful Vernal Falls

And now, many years later, in the community of my birth, the time would soon arrive.  I paced the grass as I awaited the appearance of my bride, the woman of my dreams.  Though God waited many long and painful years to answer my prayers, I know that He had His own reasons for the delay.  Monica indeed was a lovely woman–one more lovely than I could express, one sweeter than I could imagine.  She confided to me that I was the man of her dreams, even as she was of mine.  By this time, we had known each other for five years, and we wanted to keep ourselves pure, true, and faithful to each other until this time of fulfillment.  We first kissed each other on our wedding day!  This was the most important and significant event of my life, second only to the time of my coming to Christ for His salvation to be spiritually born of God.  And now it had finally arrived!

The Christian songs of love, fidelity and commitment filled my ears.  The gathered people arose.  And, at long last, my lovely Monica, clothed in purest white, with long brown hair, and with the sweetest smile, appeared at the head of the stairs.  Step by step, she gracefully, slowly descended and approached me.  I held out my hand and she did the same.  Our hands joined as the heavenly words were wafted through the air.  I gazed into her eyes–beautiful eyes that revealed love and promised life-long devotion.  God was answering the prayers of a lifetime.  And He was fulfilling the tearful prayers of a young man who stood on the bridge at Vernal Falls one day of long ago.

Richard Hollerman

This is Yosemite Falls, very near to Vernal Falls:

yosemite falls

Beautiful Vernal Falls and Yosemite Falls

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