It was May 18th, 1980 --- the day before I left for Army bootcamp when the mountain exploded. Before that the Mount St. Helens area was considered one of the most beautiful in Washington state with millions of people visiting the region each year. After the volcanic eruption the area was devestated. 57 people lost their lives, 200 houses, 47 bridges, 15 miles of railways and 185 miles of highway were destroyed. There wasn't a tree left standing within 6 miles of the crater. Spirit Lake was completly covered with volcanic ash and mud. The eruption produced the largest landslide in U.S history. After the devestation scientist refered to the landscape as "completly sterile" and lamented that it would never again "be" in our lifetime. Some even speculated that insect life would never recover. Since that fateful day I"ve often thought about Mount St Helens and what the area is like today.
In November of 2016, over 36 years after the blast, my wife and I went to Washington for our 20 year anniversary. While there we visited Mount St. Helens. It is truly amazing to see the restoration that has taken place. Though the mountain has lost over 1000 feet of elevation, the landscape is green with plant life, and streams and rivers are flowing everywhere. Vegetation and animal life are once again abundant and thriving. Many have marveled at the resiliance of nature. But as I spent an afternoon at the mountain in November, I couldn't help but think about all that had to come together to make the restoration of Mount St. Helens possible. Where does nature get its resilience and creative power? I believe it comes from the God who created the heavens and the earth. Psalm 104:30 says regarding the Lord, "When you give them your breath, life is created, and you renew the face of the earth". The recovery of Mt. St. Helens is a wonderful example of God taking care of every aspect of His creation and restoring life from death.