While driving through Utah this afternoon, I had a breathtaking experience. I use these words carefully and quite literally, for as I came over a ridge several hours into our journey, my heart seemingly skipped a beat; and my hand leaped to my chest. I could not believe what I was seeing.
The expanse of the whole earth seemed to open before my eyes, as a wide green foreground extended toward an endless sea of hills and distant forms of great, multi-colored stone. The sky was a tapestry of overcast grays with small blue pockets here and there. The road before me seemed to run without destination, less the great unknown of all the world. In my thirty years of life, I had never seen anything quite like this.
And in this encounter with the great breadth of the earth, I could think of one thing and one thing alone: God. God the Creator. Whether in six days or 6 hundred-billion--nothing so beautiful could be the work of chance nor the result of mindless natural systems. This view was the work of the most-gifted of artists. God alone.
And amazingly, he also created the eyes to see it, the mind to process it, and the soul to appreciate and connect to it. Were I to see a thousand photographs taken with utmost precision, guaranteed to ensure maximum aesthetic impact, none would compare to the immensity of the picture captured by my own eyes, there in the thick of natural grandeur. Photographs would not require my recognition of my own finitude in the face of glory; they would not demand the attention of my very breath. But seeing this visual opulence face-to-face was experiencing art and beauty in the most full of forms--that which transcends man's brush or technological lens, that which can only be created through power, sheer and raw and true.
I have no pictures of the view, and I am glad for it, for they would do it no justice. I hope that each of you gets to experience moments like these, when the glory of God is so evident that any doubt or denial of his masterful skill is impossible. I am full of praise and awe this evening and most heartily looking forward to traveling tomorrow.