My husband and I were asked to come and play for a Christian motorcycle rally this past weekend. The venue was none other than Ely, NV. For those of you who don’t know (I didn’t until I made plans to go), Ely is in the eastern part of the state, not too far from the Utah border. There’s not a whole lot to see by way of population or towns on road trips through our state. Very few towns, and the ones you do see are very small and can be a bit run down and depressing. If you choose to find interest in and focus on all of the historical buildings and imagine the way life was when these towns were at their prime, the experience is more enjoyable.
I didn’t know quite what landscapes we would see along the way, but I knew we’d behold some Nevada desert beauty in the mountains and skies. I love the type of majesty the desert mountains and open skies boast. The drive was lovely once we moved beyond the smoke from the various wild fires.
We stayed at the Jailhouse Hotel and Casino. It was plenty accommodating and we appreciated the fact that it was in the middle of all the old, historical buildings.
The rally was held at a park near downtown. There were people gathered who lived in a number of different places, all there to fellowship with other like-minded believers. I learned that the CMA (Christian Motorcyclists Association) was birthed for the sake of evangelism – reaching out, ministering to, and sharing the gospel with people in all walks of life. Our dear friends explained their hearts for this ministry and we were so thankful to have been invited to their worship night.
We (my husband and me and our two guitars) were only into the first song before the wind literally started blowing our music sheets away. My husband eventually put his guitar down in order to hold my music and stand for me. The wind and looming storm worsened impressively. All around were black clouds, thunder, lightning, and wind. My friend ended up stepping in and held my music on the stand so I could see to play it. Another kind woman sat at the base of my music stand to keep it upright. By this time, Deaconn and others held down the tents. While they were all gathered in those strategic – hold down the fort while the storm rages above – locations, I could hear their voices singing with me. The heavy clouds seemed only to show up so they too could be part of the gathering. It never did rain!
The surrounding area of Ely is stunning. We agreed to make plans to go back when we have more time so that we can explore the mountains and maybe do some camping. The short time we had to stop and take a few pictures was an unexpected and soul-refreshing treat. I felt like I was being given a gift from God for no particular reason. Just because He is good and His creation is astoundingly grand. We were all alone and the silence only shared space with the sounds of the clear, cold running creek.
Our hearts were full and we looked forward to the beautiful drive home in the magical light that comes automatically with each new morning. Right before we left town I saw something that made me feel such grief. It was like seeing death. Not tucked way, way back hidden out of sight, but right in plain view not far from the main road, with signs bragging about “new girls”, was a brothel. I know we live in Nevada and there are many such places. But it was right there, marring a small town surrounded by such beauty with its evil darkness. I felt crushed at the contrast between the light we’d experienced while in Ely and the devouring darkness that exists alongside that light.
It caused me to think again of eternity. It was a stark reminder that people are living their lives in darkness all around us. Things aren’t always as they seem. There is Heaven and there is Hell. Every person we see is heading to one of those eternities. There is no comforting “to each his own” phrase to soften the blow. Sobering thought. Crucial perspective.
Dear God, may we bring light to the dark. May the Gospel reach the dying souls and convict and save. Please, Lord, let us not be content to make this life about “our best life”, but about Your heart and Your life that You laid down. May we take up our cross and follow You.