I had just completed a week-long conference at a Navajo Reservation in Monument Valley, Utah. Each day, I jumped into my rental car and drove about 12 miles from my hotel at Goulding’s Lodge to the small assembly called Faith Covenant Church. The view from my room as well as along the road I traveled provided me with spectacular sights. Huge red rock formations jutted from the flat planes heavenward forming stunning configurations and magnificent structures. I found myself in constant awareness of the power of the Creator and the grandeur of His creation.
Sunday morning brought an end to the meetings. I packed the car to drive back to Flagstaff, Arizona for my flight home on Monday. I had noticed that my route would take me close to the Southern Rim of the Grand Canyon. Alone, in my rental car, I unfolded an old fashion road map because the GPS would not pick up a signal; and I headed for another wonder of creation.
I found my way, entered the park, parked the car, and walked toward the first viewing point. Emotion swelled up within me so quickly that a lump formed in my throat and tears spilled down my cheek within less than a minute. I had expected to be amazed. I was anticipating being astounded. But the photos that I had seen and the stories that I had heard had not sufficiently prepared me for this sighting. There, stretching out in a breadth that created a 180-degree panoramic view, in a depth that plunged miles into the gorge below, and in a height that challenged the clouds for authority to occupy the heavens was the Grand Canyon.
Huge is too small a word. Grand is too modest an adjective. Remarkable is too ordinary a modifier. Speechless - I was speechless. The beauty and grandeur were inexpressible. I could only weep. I stood there silently and reverentially attempting to embrace the experience.
The mighty Colorado River could barely be seen at the bottom of the deep ravine. It appeared as a small cord wound throughout the rough terrain. I know that the river provides agricultural water for irrigation systems, utilities for many cities, and power for many states; yet in contrast to the vast canyon, the Colorado was dwarfed and hardly visible.
The rock formations displayed such varied angles and asymmetry that they seemed to be competing for a trophy for most unique sculpture. Color tones from light tans to dark browns and pale pinks to dark reds appeared to be painted into the rock striations, thus highlighting the layers, accentuating the complexity, and emphasizing the beauty. No painting of man could compare to this masterful canvas of artistic splendor.
After a prolonged period of reflective appreciation, my mind recounted the words of the psalmist who, upon contemplation of the creative works of God’s hands, declared, “What is man that You (God) take thought of him; and the son of man that You care for him? Yet You have made him a little lower than God and You have crowned him with glory and majesty. You make him to rule over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet.” (Ps.8:4-6, NASB)
I could identify with the sentiments of this psalm. In comparison to this great canyon and the rock formations of Monument Valley, who was I? The rocks have endured since the foundation of the earth, but I am here today and gone tomorrow. This wonder of creation draws spectators from around the world, while I am known to only a few friends and family. The canyon is steadfast and immovable, while I am often inconsistent and wavering in my faith. Yet God – yet God – has created mankind, including me, to bear His image in a way that no other created thing can match.
My source of tears changed. I went from crying over creation’s beauty to weeping over amazing grace. Smaller in size is not less in importance. I stood before the grandeur of the Grand Canyon and worshipped. I worshipped for the world God has created and for the way He has created me in order that I might worship. “All the earth worships Thee; they sing praises to Thee, sing praises to Thy name.” (Ps. 66:4)