Along the Oregon coast, you can see what is called a ghost forest. The Neskowin Ghost Forest was created 2,000 years ago when the Cascadia Subduction Zone erupted creating a massive earthquake. An entire forest dropped in elevation during the earthquake and was submerged in mud from a landslide created by the resulting tsunami. The remnants of the forest remained hidden and out of sight until the late 1990s when a storm washed away the mud to reveal the long-submerged and preserved Sitka spruce tree stumps that make up the Ghost Forest.
Some of our most important and informing history can remain hidden beneath the debris of historic cultural upheaval. Future storms that come after these times of upheaval can reveal what has remained hidden and out of sight for decades, centuries, or even millennia.
Of recent date, we have experienced a series of social storms that have greatly affected our culture and the Church. There is evidence that will be discovered after these storms wash away the concealing mud of our history. The equivalent of a spiritual ghost forest is beginning to emerge along the coastline of our faith. This revelation will remind us that our believing ancestors lived through similar times to what we are currently living. The wise ones among us will review a larger expanse of Church and cultural history to interpret their current reality as remnants of the past begin to appear. This review of history will help us determine the best course to take as we move forward into the future.
Sometimes it takes a storm to reveal a hidden history. A ghost forest of history is not revealed to cause concern but to inform us of things we may have forgotten – insight that can bring clarity to our current reality. Don’t waste these times of exposure. God uses them for redemptive purposes. Exposure is a good thing if we rightly interpret its revelation and adjust our course as we move into the future.