Yesterday was a great day for me; I got to visit the west side of one of the most beautiful and awesome parks in America, Glacier National Park! Typical for a rainforest, it was..........raining! Beautiful it was though, even without the added benefit of seeing the surrounding grandeur of the white mountain peaks! With a little help from my friends, this old geezer trudged slowly & painstakingly along the Trail of Cedars where you might almost think you're in the Forest of Endor, expecting a small furry figure t jump out from behind one of those awesome cedars and start jabbering at you in the cutest &; most unintelligible way! ( either that, or jump out of the way as a Stormtrooper goes whizzing past on a Speeder )
Another thing that kinda jumped out at us was the yellowed evergreens! Whatever the case, whether it's because they're are certain kind of tree or whether it's their different ages, we thought it was quite a beautiful phenomenon! As with many things in life, however, it's so tempting to focus on that one particular phenomenon, whether it be a tree or a certain doctrine, and miss the forest for the trees!
So many Christians in this day & age like to tell & retell ( even reiterate ) the manifold stories that we can read in their Holy Bibles and focus so much on slicing & dicing them to get to the heart of the matter, that they tend to miss the Story of Scripture! The importance of this Story, the Story of Yahweh's enduring Love for His people Israel ( that's us ) cannot be ignored or downplayed ( bypassed )! The individual stories ARE important, don't get me wrong, but when we focus on them to the ignorance of the Greater Story, then we face the problem of who we really are, while we try to apply the lessons of the individual stories to our own lives!
As an amateur photographer ( mostly of inanimate objects ), I find myself often focusing on things such as yellow evergreens or 'cool' rock formations that I tend to miss The Beauty of the Ordinary! In this day & age, we have been so programmed to look for ( and be held by ) the unusual & the objects that stand out, that we usually look right past the mundane. We miss a lot when we do this!
What we see as mundane & uninteresting can be, at the same time, the most beautiful & truly interesting person, object or doctrine of all! Beauty surrounds us; we simply have to sit back, relax & take it in. It isn't something we have to search for; it's something we need to accept, just to trust that it is what it is because that's the way our Creator made it! There are many things in this 'work' that, for the life of us, we cannot find any beauty at all in, and in fact, in a lot of things & people, it's almost impossible to look past ( or through ) the ugliness and see the beauty that our Heavenly Father has placed in them!
Traveling through the park yesterday, as we often forget to do as we travel the road we call life, we took our time, not only noting the awesomeness & grandeur of The Beauty That Surrounds Us, but stopping & capturing the moment! Though we missed certain spectacular features, for various reasons, we were able to witness to as well as capture on 'film', much of this beauty!
Our Heavenly Father has said, 'be still, and know that I am God' ( Psalm 46:10 )! This is not to say that we may or just sit on our blessed assurance while life passes us by, or that we should just sit quietly by while life just happens to us! He means that we need to realize, in the hustle & bustle of everyday life, that He IS our Life, 'it is He that has made us, and not we ourselves' ( Psalm 100:3 ); to remain open, in the midst of our struggles & turmoil, to The Beauty That Surrounds Us! When we do this, we can see the forest for the trees & rest in the Glory of His Presence!
As we read the various individual stories within the Greater Story, let us remember that, while these stories may occupy a particular spot in the past history of God's People, they not only contain lessons for our individual lives & and give us insight into the Mind of our Heavenly Father; they help us to be still and know that He is God! It is through the stillness ( not inactivity, but humility ) of our minds that we are able to realize & recognize the Glory that His Presence has brought to His Creation!
Glacier National Park is full of awesome beauty & with the realization of The Marriage of Heaven & Earth, it is only more beautiful! Knowing that our Heavenly Father has chosen to reside within His Creation helps us to realize that, while certain parts of it may catch our eyes more than others, it is ALL beautiful, because He made it so!
Glorying in the Beauty of His Presence,
Charles Haddon Shank