Last week I was able to spend the week camping at Yosemite with my family. Maybe I am just a romantic, but each time I go there I am freshly reminded of God’s love and what a special place it is for me. So many times while visiting there I have felt a closeness to God.
On a trip about 20 years ago, I was sitting on a rock overlooking the valley and was overcome by its beauty. I still remember being brought to tears wondering how anything in nature could be so beautiful, that there was no way such beauty was a random result of glaciers and rock formations. I felt the only explanation for such beauty was the intentional brushstrokes of an artist – and if such an artist creates such beauty, surely He also created in us an appreciation for such beauty. On that rock I made the decision to seek out a relationship with God in my life.
A few years later, I visited Yosemite again. During that trip, a young man standing near me in a meadow struck up a conversation with me about how he felt so spiritual, and how he didn’t think anyone could come to a place like that and not feel the same. Thinking that he was a Christian I started to talk about God’s glory. To my surprise he replied “oh I don’t believe in God…” We started to talk about whether or not the spiritual feeling people sense in a place like Yosemite serves any evolutionary purpose. I don’t know what happened to him after our conversation, but I do know that he was experiencing God’s glory that day whether he knew it or not.
Last week as we were riding our bikes through the Yosemite valley, we decided to stop in a meadow and just take it all in – no easy task with three kids under the age of nine. My daughter turned to me after a few moments: “I can’t believe how beautiful this is dad.” The funny thing is, we have pictures and posters of Yosemite up all around our house – but as beautiful as pictures can be, they cannot compare to the actual experience. And that is true of a relationship with God as well isn’t it? We can read about Him, study His Word, form our own opinions in our minds about His existence – but nothing compares to when we actually experience Him. Nature is just one way that God reveals Himself to us. Sometimes it is in our interactions with others. Sometimes it is during our prayer. Sometimes it is when we are reading Scripture. Sometimes it is even when we stop trying to do everything ourselves. Sometimes it is when we slow our busy lives for a few minutes, go for a walk, and are still enough to just listen.
In many ways, it’s easy to experience God in a place like Yosemite. My prayer today is that all of us can go outside – even for just a few minutes – take a deep breath, shut out the noises of traffic and just experience God.
Trying to Follow,