Exactly one week from today, I will wake up at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, having hiked down a steep 8 miles or so the day before. I did this hike two years ago but I expect to be surprised and delighted in new ways this time around.
I already know:
- I’ll be stiff from what amounts to a controlled fall down craggy South Kaibab and ever-so-thankful for the right gear and the months of training.
- I’ll be grateful for the rich companionship of my fellow hikers that is unique to an experience like this.
- I’ll be impressed as always by the untamed wildness and inherent danger of this beautiful place.
- I’ll be stunned anew by nature’s multiple mood swings, often visible all at once across the sweeping panorama.
- I’ll be reminded of my own smallness and comparative insignificance amid such enormity.
- And I’ll be inspired to private worship and whispered prayers of gratitude.
And I also know this: None of it will be enough.
That’s what brings the joy of this adventure into sharp focus for me.
As I become aware of my tiny place in the grand scheme of nature, my heart turns toward an even grander scheme: the eternal perspective of a good and just Creator, the very One who laid the foundation of this marvelous place.
Our God is too big to be understood and infinitely worthy of more praise than we can ever give, even in our most fervent attempts. Far from being frustrating, this “not enough” thrills me. Even in a location as majestic as the Grand Canyon, I am reminded that God is greater … and beyond … and above … all.
I begin to sense in profound yet inadequate ways that the same eternity reflected in the nature around me is also placed within me, in all my smallness, and I am awestruck beyond words.
“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” Ecclesiastes 3:11
When I wake up a few days later, back home in the flat, relatively dull Midwest, God will be just as near and just as glorious, just as worthy of worship as he was on the South Rim, South Kaibab trail, Bright Angel trail, and the Phantom Ranch.
That’s the God I serve.
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