“Beauty was created by God for a purpose: to give us the experience of wonder. And wonder, in turn, is intended to lead us to the ultimate human expression and privilege: worship. Beauty is both a gift and a map. It is a gift to be enjoyed and a map to be followed back to the source of the beauty with praise and thanksgiving.”
~Steve DeWitt from Eyes Wide Open, quoted by Tim Challies
The wedding wasn’t until three–and Laurie didn’t expect any of us to be there until one, which left us with a free morning in Colorado.
“Do you have any suggestions for what we should see tomorrow morning?” we asked at the rehearsal dinner.
Laurie suggested the Black Canyon and gave us basic directions.
Okay, we thought. We’ll check it out. See the little local wonders in our free time.
As we drove along the designated road, we wondered if we’d missed it. “Was that it?” we wondered.
And then there it was. We stopped, aghast at how we’d underestimated the place.
We moved eagerly from look-out point to look-out point, running as quickly as we safely could to see as much of the canyon as possible in our limited time.
“How can anyone see this and say there is no God?” we wondered aloud.
And then we turned our attentions upward to praise the God who made this beauty. We lifted our voices, singing what was becoming our trip’s theme song:
“Bless the Lord, O my soul
O-o-o my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before, O my soul
Worship His holy name
The sun comes up, it’s a new day dawning
It’s time to sing Your song again
Whatever may pass, and whatever lies before me
Let me be singing when the evening comes”
~From “10,000 Reasons” by Matt Redman
On the drive through the Rockies, I’d asked how the mountain chain was formed–and had looked up the answer on my Kindle (I <3 Free 3G!) Per current geological understanding, the Rockies were formed via plate tectonics in the Laramide orogeny. The Black Canyon of the Gunnison was the result of swiftly moving water gradually cutting down rock to create the beauty we see now.
Stephen Altrogge’s comment strikes me:
“Spiritual coldness isn’t the result of a single life-changing event. It’s the cumulative result of a thousand small, seemingly insignificant choices, like neglecting prayer, shunning fellowship, and ignoring the word of God. True spiritual fire isn’t the result of one, over the top, mountaintop, spiritual high experience. It’s the beautiful accumulation of consistent time invested in the spiritual disciplines. Our spiritual lives are the result of many small actions piled on top of each other.”
~Stephen Altrogge, via Vitamin Z
The raw material from which God would form the mountain was made in a single creative act at the beginning of creation–but the beautiful mountain and canyon were not built in a day, or in a single experience. They are the result of years and years of steady influence, shaping them into what I wondered at this weekend.
In the same way, God created spiritual life in me in a single act when He saved me. But a beautiful spiritual life is not formed in a day or in a single experience. It is the result of years and years of continued submission to the hand of God, allowing Him to shape me.
The little choices of submission are hard, but the end result is worth it. For I trust that someday someone will look at this little canyon and wonder. And I trust that someday, when someone looks at this little canyon in wonder, they will turn their eyes to Christ and worship.
It is for that reason I invest in spiritual disciplines, like a mountain submitting to the relentless flow of water. Because a beautiful life brings Him glory.
May I ever see beauty and wonder at it, worshiping the One who made it.
And may my life become beautiful, that I might incite those who see me to wonder at and worship the One who made me.
Don’t forget to take a look at Barbara H’s meme “The Week in Words”, where bloggers collect quotes they’ve read throughout the week.