Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, Lord, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all.
1 Chronicles 29:11
I recently had the very great joy of putting 3200 miles on someone else’s car in just 10 days (thank you Avis). With my husband and two elementary aged children, we began by flying to Denver and driving to Grand Teton National Park, up into Yellowstone and then all the way north to Glacier National Park.
The solid ruggedness of the jagged Grand Teton mountains serving as a backdrop for the park took all our breaths away for a moment. Then we arrived in Yellowstone and almost felt we were on another planet with it’s sulphur pools and geysers.
We saw so much beauty that our eyes were aching for the joy of it. Our senses overwhelmed. We took a day to drive up through Montana, and felt like we had reentered the ‘normal’ world.
But then after a night (and possibly the best steak ever in the history of cows) in the lovely Bozeman, we drove into Glacier National Park.
Powerful so powerful
Your glory fills the skies
Your mighty works displayed for all to see
-Tim Hughes, Beautiful One
As much as we had loved the first two parks, Glacier was in a league all of it’s own. With bold, lush mountains and placid lakes, dense forestry and buffalo filled plains. Kayaking on Lake McDonald may have been the best holiday activity we have ever enjoyed as a family.
I’m told most people prefer dogs or cats, but few are truly keen on both. I think it’s the same with scenery. People seem to naturally relax at the beach, or in the mountains. At no time am I more aware of how mighty and powerful a God we serve, than when surrounded by the mountains He ordered in to place. The Great I Am. While some refuse to believe in a Creator-God, to me, the idea that the structure of the earth occurred in a split-second cosmic incident is unfathomable. This much beauty cannot be an accident.
But even with beauty comes great heartbreak. As we paddled (each parent had a small child so it was a bit splashy), our quiet reverie was punctuated by rotor noise. The fire fighting helicopters were making laps, filling their giant buckets from Glacier’s lakes and battling a blaze. One ranger told us they only fight the fires if there’s a specific need. In this case, the hotspot was located just above a campground so had to be extinguished.
The wildfire and resulting haze reminded me of the Garden of Eden, where infinite beauty gave way to evil. God created paradise and seconds later we opened the door to let the enemy come in. Play that forward to 2017 and we have creation ripped apart by the elements. Even while Montana burns (there are currently more than 30 active fires in the state according to the Montana Public Library), Texas is suffering through the effects of Tropical Storm Harvey. If only the rain could go north, everyone’s problems would be solved. But there is solace. In Isaiah 43:2 it says;
“When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.”
Jesus doesn’t promise that we won’t suffer. But he says we won’t be alone and that the darkness won’t win. He has conquered it. Even as Eve was taking a bite of the forbidden fruit and offering it to Adam, The Lord was preparing to launch plan B. In Genesis 3:15 we get the first hint that something is coming to rescue us, to crush the serpent at great cost. Despite dismissing them from the Garden, The Lord also shows such forgiveness for His two children, making them garments to cover their newfound nakedness. God promises that no matter the trouble, He will be with us in the very midst of it.
He is faithful from beauty, to ashes, to sacrificial love.
The beauty of your majesty
Awakes my heart to sing
How marvelous how wonderful you are
– Tim Hughes, Beautiful One
Deborah Hackett is British but Iives in Northern Virginia with her husband and their two daughters. She is finishing up a Bible study for military wives and also working on her first fiction novel. A lifelong radio journalist by trade, in her spare time she enjoys playing bass and acoustic guitar, skiing, baking and volunteering with Young Life.
You can find Deborah at deborahhackett.com