When one hears the words “Flaming Geyser,” one imagines fire spitting towards the heavens in flashes of glory at least 15 feet high. I was hoping for even more – like maybe 40 feet – but I would have been content with 15.
Then one wonderful day, we had a chance to visit Flaming Geyser State Park. I wondered aloud if we’d be able to get close enough to the blazing heat to roast hot dogs in the flames. Mom told me we’d probably make our own fire. That way others could enjoy the sight without being distracted by our lunch.
We didn’t have the luxury of Google searches back then to influence our enthusiasm. No, we were at the mercy of our own imaginations. The excitement on the way was electric; and when we arrived at the park, we tumbled out of the car and raced up the path marked “This way to flaming geyser.”
I argued with my brother for a full five minutes that the real flaming geyser had to be further up the path, but at last even I had to admit that the 3 ½ inch flickering flame coming out of a concrete tube was probably the real geyser. A sign with “Flaming Geyser” pointed directly at it.
Misery loves company; so through the years we’d drag unsuspecting guests to visit the geyser. Cruelly, we did not temper their expectations with reality but let them speculate as we had.
One day our cousins from Iowa stood staring with disappointment into the pit. Leigh, my brother, took pity on them and decided to give the fire a boost by piling bits of bark and dried up leaves onto the gas lit flame. Before long, he’d snuffed it out completely. In vain we searched through our pockets and purses for matches or lighters to reignite the birthday candle like blaze. About the time we realized we were going to have to make a trip back to the car for matches, two women rounded the corner. Out of breath and with heeled sandals that looked for the world like they were pinching in all sorts of uncomfortable ways, they stared with even greater than usual disappointment into the pit.
“Did the flame go out?” they inquired as they glanced sadly from the pit to the unlit cigarettes they held in their hands.
“Sometimes it blows out,” Leigh responded in a woeful voice. The two women turned and walked dejectedly back down the path. For an entirely different reason, the flaming geyser had not met their expectations.
In reality, life seldom does live up to all of our hopes. Indeed many disappointments, great and small, await us. Even our parents didn’t have the power to shelter us from all of life’s bumps. Only Jesus can offer that kind of security.
Romans 5:2 promises us hope in God. Verse 5 assures us that we will not be disappointed if we place our hope in Him. “Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”
If what life has to offer isn’t matching up to your expectations, may I recommend placing your hopes and dreams into God’s wonderful, loving hands?