Monday, October 21, 2013

Watching the Lava

Several years ago my husband Scott and I flew to Hawaii for our niece’s wedding.  While there Steve, Blossom, Scott and I spent a couple of days on the big island of Hawaii.  One afternoon we visited an area that had recently been covered by a lava flow.  Since the lava was now cool, we walked on the hardened lava to the newly formed beach, several hundred yards farther into the ocean than the previous beach.  The lava, hard, crusty, and smooth, undulated in small, rolling hills.  When we reached that beach, I was startled to see black sand.  I thought it would take hundreds of years to erode the lava to create this black sand, but one of the local men informed me how the sandy beach actually had been formed.  When the extremely hot, molten lava poured off the land into the much cooler ocean, the extreme difference in temperature caused the lava to explode, instantly creating black sand.

Eager to see a current lava flow, we inquired about the feasibility of viewing the lava.  The breezes blew landward during the day, creating caustic clouds, unsafe to breathe, so we couldn’t go then.  We could, however, view the lava flow at night, when the breezes blew seaward.  That evening, we drove 20 miles on a curving road far from any habitation.  When we reached the barricade, we pulled over and climbed of the car. The soft glow of billions of stars dotting the inky sky provided the only light on this pitch black night.
Flashlights in hand, we walked down the road, and then carefully picked our way along a narrow, rocky path.  Small groups of people, all with flashlights lit, stared in the same direction.  After walking a couple hundred yards, we perched on a large rock, turned off the flashlight, and looked for the lava flow.   Across a small bay, about a quarter of a mile away, we saw it.   Contrasting with the dark water, a red-orange glow illuminated the land behind it.  As the molten lava spilled into the sea, a huge steam-cloud rose into the night sky and drifted slowly over the Pacific Ocean.  By watching carefully, we saw the waves crashing against the flow of the lava.  We sat spellbound for over an hour, staring at the magnificent sight. Then, in the silence of the still, quiet night, Steve began to sing:  Oh Lord, my God, when I in awesome wonder, consider all the worlds Thy hands have made….
What a perfect song for the moment, for we beheld our Savior’s creative beauty.  We watched as God created new land in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Only the brilliance of the starlight and the red-orange glow of the lava broke the darkness. I imagined the new black sand beach being formed by His hand.  The beauty and power of our God left us amazed and humbled.  Here we sat on a rock, miles from civilization, watching a tiny sliver of His creative power.  I see the stars; I hear the rolling thunder, Thy power throughout the universe displayed. 

Oh God, keep us ever mindful of how great Thou art!

Deuteronomy 10:21 “He is your praise; he is your God, who performed for you those great and awesome wonders you saw with your own eyes.”


  1. Oh Nancy ... every time I step foot on a beach {especially off-season!} I am amazed, in awe, touched deep in my soul by His creation and the lessons that are there, right and left, for me to touch, to handle, to absorb.

    Thank you for capturing the marvels of His grace, my friend!

  2. Linda, thank you for the kind words. I too, marvel at creation, especially when next to the ocean or the mountains. Their immensity is amazing. What mighty hand can create such beauty and power? Thanks for stopping by and sharing your insights.