Last week a few friends and I took a few days off and drove down to visit the beauties of southern Utah and Northern Arizona. Here are some of the important thoughts that come out as a result of that trip.
The Richness of the Grace and Goodness of God
I am very blessed to be surrounded by young men who are serious thinkers and seek to think carefully from a biblical perspective through all issues of life. As we made our way through the magnificent landscape of Utah and Arizona and camped in all the most amazing locations, this was perhaps the central theme of our trip. It is hard to describe how perfect everything fit together in those five days, although we did almost nothing that we actually planned to do. Even in our obstacles we later saw how everything worked our for good.
As I sat by the fire on one of the nights feeling the warm desert breeze I was all of a sudden struck by the amazing richness and beauty of life. Many people look at this beauty and say that it is merely an evolutionary affection that we have inherited, which motivates us to continue to live, thus turning beauty into an illusion of our evolving mind. I must profoundly disagree. As I behold the beauty of life and the natural world I am not merely motivated to continue to exist. Rather I am driven to think more carefully and deeply about existence and life itself, and my own place within it all. Mere survival is the last thing on my mind.
My Own Selfishness and Laziness
On a trip like this there is a great demand for teamwork and collaboration to make things happen. Everyday, the meals must be cooked, the dishes washed, the campsite set up, etc. I was humbled by the great character exhibited by the guys I was with who continually to the initiative to get up and help when sitting by the campfire was the only thing on their mind. I also saw how often I failed to serve to the maximum, and how often I helped with a mindset that fell so very short of true selfless love. It was a great reminder of my selfishness and opportunity to fight that selfishness.
The Importance of Taking Time Off
The concept of taking time off goes back to the very first chapters of the book of Genesis. God rested on the seventh day after he created this awesome universe. As he later worked with the Israelites a full day of rest was one of the most important aspects of the lifestyle that he prescribed to them. I have learned that this is a very important aspect of life. When we take time off we are able to decompress and rethink our life from a new perspective. We are able to focus our mind on more basic and foundational thoughts. It was a great opportunity to just hang out and talk with the guys about how we are doing and how we are growing in Christ. This enabled us to come back to life with a fresh and new take on the daily challenges of life.
The Littleness of Humankind
As we wove our way through the thousands of feet of massive sandstone cliffs of Zion National Park, and hiked beside huge drops and layers of orange and red at the Grand Canyon it was impossible to not be reminded of our own littleness and finitude. At the Grand Canyon we hiked down to Roaring Springs, which was an elevation change of 3,000 feet in 4.7 miles. That was not too much trouble on the way down but was a real challenge on the way up. We were able to climb back up the whole 3,000 of elevation in 2 hours and 20 minutes. We considered that to be quite an achievement. However, sitting up there and looking down the canyon once again I saw that our hike was so small compared to the size of the whole canyon. We are little people in a massive and powerful universe. This thought was magnified as I observed the grandeur of the Arizona sky later that night.
I trust that the rich experience of this past week is the beginning of a lifestyle in me rather than a single isolated event. I expect to be back at the Grand Canyon soon enough to once again me reminded of the greatness of God and my littleness and dependence on him.