Visiting Yosemite: Part 1
Being Refreshed in God’s Creation
Becky and I recently celebrated 30 years of marriage with a trip to California. We spent two weeks just loafing around in places like Orange County (where I grew up), Yosemite National Park, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. We had a blast together. Our longest stay was in Yosemite, where we spent six nights. It was a delicious location that allowed us to get away from the noise and suburban congestion and to spend time in God’s great outdoors.
We actually stayed in a tent, in a small campground called Curry Village. It was charming and fairly rustic, except for our tent heater which was nice with the cold nights (in the 30s and 40s). Most of our time during the days, we spent hiking. We hiked more than 50 miles in just four days! And we paid for it a bit, but it was worth it.
The Bible reminds us that nature declares the glory of God. This is clear in Psalm 19 and Romans 1. This means that there is a certain amount of information about and experience of God that one can obtain from soaking in the great outdoors. It can never take the place of spending time in Scripture, but it is clearly designed to be used alongside the Bible. Spending extended time in the mountains, forests, and around the ocean does something to the soul. It is incredibly refreshing. To stand next to El Capitan—a 3,000-foot wall of granite—or the majestic Half Dome is a powerful illustration of how big and steady God is, and how tiny and transient we are. It’s a reminder of Psalm 18:2: “The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”
The great naturalist, John Muir (who spent a lot of time in Yosemite), spoke of how much we need to be refreshed in God’s cathedral of nature. I read one of Muir’s books on our trip, and he was spot on. Modern, suburban-dwelling, noise-addicted, cell phone-using, Facebook junkies need to “unplug” at times, and get into the great outdoors. We desperately need time away by ourselves and with God. It helps keep us balanced on what really matters in life (clue: very little outside of our faith in God, family, friends, and the people we impact). Make sure to take some time this summer to be refreshed in God’s majestic creation. You may be surprised how thirsty your soul was for quiet and repair.
by Jay Childs, Senior Pastor