The list of things that I’ve come to miss in this season keeps growing. And towards the very top is traveling.
Last summer our family headed out west from Ohio. This was our first adventure seeing anything between Chicago and the Pacific Region.
Our first stop was Kansas City, Missouri to see my little brother and future sister in law. Our time together was short, but precious. I appreciate it even more now.
From Kansas City we continued west to Rocky Mountain National Park. As we drove my anticipation grew for how the landscape would change. It was amazing to see how one hill would give way to a slightly different landscape; a little less hilly, a bit fewer trees. Then another hill would come and another, with gradual variation. Then-there before us lay the vast Great Plains.
I felt almost giddy. These were The Great Plains I had daydreamed of while learning about the wild west in grade school. I looked out the windows from side to side-gobsmacked at how far the eye could see. I have only ever experienced a similar feeling while looking out over the seemingly endless ocean.
A sense of peace rolled over me as I gazed transfixed. Thoughts of praise flooded my brain, like the psalmists of old.
“Oh come, let us sing to the LORD;
let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
For the LORD is a great God,
and a great King above all gods.
In his hand are the depths of the earth;
the heights of the mountains are his also.
The sea is his, for he made it,
and his hands formed the dry land.
Oh come, let us worship and bow down;
let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker!” -Psalm 95:1-6
That experience would be repeated as I watched the Rocky Mountains come into view, growing larger and still larger. Or later, as I stood at the tops of those mighty Rockies and gazed out among the frozen tundra. Then it was standing at the edge of Bryce Canyon and studying the other worldly hoodoos. And the breathtaking views of The Narrows at Zion National Park, and later the elegant landscape of Arches National Park…
This Sunday our pastor preached a striking sermon on Ecclesiastes 3. One verse in particular stood out to me;
“I perceived that whatever God does endures forever;
nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it.
God has done it,
so that people fear before him.” -Ecclesiastes 3:14
This is what I miss! What I miss is being confronted with those breathtaking views that force me to bow to the awesome Maker of Heaven and Earth! These views strike a fear, a right reverence in me, which is too easily forgotten or lost in my day to day. These magnificent creations remind me that I am not in control, but praise be to God, He is!
I truly miss traveling. But we will travel again one day; and I plan to go all the places and see all the things! But until then, I can choose to make an intentional practice of going outside my own door, looking up through the swaying trees into the sky, and pondering how awesome and mighty God is to the background music of a chorus of songbirds. I can choose to praise Him, just like His creation.
“Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad;
let the sea resound, and all that is in it.
Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them;
let all the trees of the forest sing for joy.” -Psalm 96:11-12