Are We There Yet
By Brenda Black
Pack the mini van! We're going to the Grand Canyon! Summer vacations are more than sibling warfare over window seats. They go beyond sing-along's with “The Wiggles” to keep little Timmy tame. A family's trek across Kansas Plains in a hunk of metal that registers 110 degrees on the surface is but a small price to pay for memories that last a lifetime. Summer vacations are opportunities to grow in patience and appreciation for family while breathing in the touch of God – especially when you head to the mountains or deserts of our America's West.
As you prepare for your journey, keep this story in mind: Three people were visiting and viewing the Grand Canyon -- an artist, a pastor and a cowboy. As they stood on the edge of that massive abyss, each one responded with a cry of exclamation. The artist said, "Ah, what a beautiful scene to paint!" The minister cried, "What a wonderful example of the handiwork of God!" The cowboy mused, "What a terrible place to lose a cow!"
Some folks see what the Lord has made and determine they can improve upon it with their own creative twist. A few will marvel at the Lord's sovereign touch and accept it with thanksgiving. And then, there are others who view God's mastery as mere inconvenience and prefer their own path. Which are you?
We can't possibly embellish what the Lord has molded from the depths of his omniscient mind. When he spoke to Job, he made it perfectly clear that he alone is the Creator of all.
“Then the Lord answered Job out of the storm. He said: 'Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge? Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me.
“'Where were you when I laid the earth's foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it? On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone – while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?
“'Who shut up the sea behind doors when it burst forth from the womb, when I made the clouds its garment and wrapped it in thick darkness, when I fixed limits for it and set its doors and bars in place, when I said, “This far you may come and no farther; here is where your proud waves halt”?'” (Job 38:1-11)
God's amazing formations will never be better than in their original form. Try capturing the vastness of the Rockies with the lens of a camera. Attempt to describe the oranges, blues and pinks of a vibrant sunset across a Texas desert. It can't be done – not perfectly - because our equipment and capabilities are limited in comparison to God's infinite design.
The wise acknowledge such worthiness of praise and know their place in relationship to God.
“I will sing of the Lord's great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations...
“The heavens praise your wonders, O Lord, your faithfulness too, in the assembly of the holy ones. For who in the skies above can compare with the Lord? Who is like the Lord among the heavenly beings? In the council of the holy ones God is greatly feared; he is more awesome than all who surround him.
“O Lord God Almighty, who is like you? You are mighty, O Lord, and your faithfulness surrounds you. You rule over the surging sea; when its waves mount up, you still them...The heavens are yours, and yours also the earth; you founded the world and all that is in it.” (Psalm 89 selected)
The foolish go forth with their own agenda and depend upon their own ingenuity. They see the world as canyons of cares and valleys of greed and grief instead of focusing on an omnipotent God. Wandering desperadoes who scorn God's touch upon mankind not only lose a few cows from their herd, but travel a selfish and destructive path.
Job realized his rightful place under God's authority.
“Then Job answered the Lord: 'I am unworthy – how can I reply to you? I put my hand over my mouth. I spoke once, but I have no answer – twice, but I will say no more.'” (Job 40:3-5)
This summer, wherever you travel across this great nation and whatever amazing scenery you encounter, pause and give credit where credit is due – “he is called the God of all the earth.” (Isaiah 54:5c) May you see the hand of God and pass along gratefulness for such beauty to the next generation while you pass the time in your mini van. Have a wonderful trip!