Beholding His Beauty

I think it took me too long to appreciate all that God made in nature. Every tree that is planted and every star in the sky- they were all placed there by the same God that breathed life into me. The thing I love about nature is how much of God I can see in it. The grandeur of the outdoors is so beautiful, awe inspiring and surreal, that there is no way it could have been placed there on a random whim of cosmic energy surging through the Milky Way. Sometimes, I can see more of God in nature than I can from sitting in a cushioned seat of church.

Part of the beauty of experiencing God's nature is how you get there, I think. It's the roads that lead us to the meadows where even in the simple bends of the pavement can we experience his glory all the same. These shots were taken from my most recent trip to Yosemite. Yosemite is one of those places where all you have to do is look up at the sky scraper rock formations to see the majesty of God. I love that God made all of this for us, just for our pleasure. Every sunset, every mountain, each tree planted along the side of the road, all just some of the ways that he tells us he loves us.

One thing I know for certain, the thing that is the driving force in my life, is that God is the master creator. As such, he created me. I was made to create, we were made to create, and not just create meaningless works but works that will serve his kingdom. I know it's cliche for the young, millennial Christian to say "created to create." I get it. But it's a truth I can't shake. I would not say it if it weren't true. I aim to mean what I say. Too many people today don't really mean what they say and I'm tired of it. But I digress.

When I see a deer in the middle of a field, a water fall flowing with all the force it has, wind rustling the leaves on trees, I see the intricacies of the creation. I see those same intricacies in myself: the different color specks in my eyes, the color of my hair, the carefully placed freckles on my shoulders, all part of my creation. And so how can I, created with a purpose, call and drive not take what I have been given and create and make and do all the same. We were created in the image of our God. That means, as a fallen being, I have all the same traits of creativity, imagination and curiosity of the one who made me. Not using those talents would be a waste, a shame. Why waste what I've been given? Especially when they were given to me by the same entity that formed every part of this universe, from the galaxies to the ants.

God created us to be relational people. From the very beginning, God saw Adam alone and knew it was not good, so he created Eve, a helpmate and companion. Part of enjoying God's beauty is experiencing it with others. I believe the beauty of a sunrise and the stillness of a meadow should be enjoyed with those you care about. As a God who seeks relationship with us and who longs for us to foster relationships with others, I think that he wants us to enjoy him together. Cramming six people into a car to drive to Yosemite overnight so that we could catch sunrise was one of those life moments, where you knew everything was alright. But it wouldn't have been the same if it weren't for the people I was surrounded with.

Experiencing God is like that, though. It's getting uncomfortable and doing crazy things, like driving through the middle of the night to hike to a high place to see his glory awaken a new day. It's those moments that make life worth it, though. It's pushing yourself to do things out of your comfort zone with people you may or may not know. It's getting to that high place to see something you might not have if you stayed safe and warm in the car. Life is hiking, sitting on the lookout point, viewing the sunrise together.

And so I see him everywhere. How can you not? The nature around us is so grand, it begs to be acknowledged by a creator; it cannot sustain itself. And it must be enjoyed by others, intentionally. There comes a time when you've got to put down your phone, put down your camera and simply sit, in his presence. Allow yourself to be fully present, fully alive and fully aware. Allow yourself to really see the sunrise, apart from distractions and worries. Just take a second to be present with God and the beauty he made. It will always be worth it. Promise.