He is Vast & Beautiful

As I sit here in the dark of my room, I think of all the places I have been & all the places I want to go. One thing that I love about traveling is that I always learn more about myself, God, and others. To see different cultures, landscapes, and people somehow makes my view of God a little bit bigger. I have been a Christian pretty much my whole life, so on the Biblical foundation scale, I’m probably a 9.5/10.  Being a Christian your whole life or long enough to realize that a relationship with Jesus isn’t all rainbows & butterflies – can be hard.  It isn’t hard because of persecution, or being made fun of, or feeling like you don’t belong, but because of getting into the mindset that you know everything. I think a lot of times if I am going through something or I read a Bible verse or someone tries to encourage me, I just say to myself, “I have heard that one before” or “Yes I know that Jesus loves me.”  While those things are true, it isn’t the healthiest attitude. To be honest with you, I have found myself in that spot many times. How easy it is to forget about how small we are, and the vastness of God’s beauty.

A few months ago my best friend and I got the opportunity to go to Colorado for 5 days.  We had been there before on a big road trip last year, and out of all the places we drove through Colorado was the most memorable.  As we planned our next trip, we both gravitated towards going back to Colorado.  We had to go back to that place.  What we loved most was driving through Rocky Mountain National Park. This territory is huge and actually covers about 265,769 acres of wildernessIt is vast, beautiful, unpredictable, and really just awesome. Going into the trip I had a lot of ideas of what it would be like, from the long drives to the beautiful mountains to the elk crossings. We had done it once before so I pretty much knew what to expect. We both love to drive, so the last time we were there we drove through all the beauty. This time though, we wanted more.  We wanted to be there longer and hike on foot. The landscape is just beautiful with the mountains, trees, sky, elk, all of it.  The roads felt beautiful and familiar, but this time we were wanting to go deeper, foot to trail. So on day 3, that is what we did.

We drove pretty far in, parked, and set out for the trail. It wasn’t that big of a trail since we aren’t serious hikers, but we heard something about a waterfall. We walked a while. The trail was just beautiful. The sun was shining through the trees. You could hear the melting snow coming down the mountain and the unfamiliar birds chirping all around us. The air was crisp and felt untouched by civilization, the kind of air that you want to take gulps of.  A whole different world compared to the one I’m used to in Indiana—with different trees and birds that I hadn’t seen before. We hiked a while, talked a while, cried a little bit, and got to the top of the waterfall. Going to the top changed everything. The trail was beautiful, but now this was breathtaking. After spending a while up there, we decided to make our way back down. We talked about how all the trails we had been on thus far looked completely different than the first. I thought about how I wanted to hike all the trails. I thought about how driving through it really couldn’t compare to actually being in the midst of it.  As we came back down, we talked about how we couldn’t believe there were more. We wanted more. We felt so refreshed. The more trails I take, the more I want to see. I simply know that I might not be able to hike every trail in this lifetime – but that doesn’t overwhelm me. It’s like every picture of this park I had in my head before felt different. I couldn’t fathom the vastness or beauty of it, and that is what made it the most exciting. I didn’t just want to keep going down that same trail that we went on (even though it was beautiful). I wanted to see more of the park and take it all in. I couldn’t get enough.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that this place made me feel like how I wanted to feel about Jesus. (Cue the inspirational music.)  I just realized that Jesus should feel like this vast, beautiful wilderness. That at every turn is a different view of Him. The more we explore and see, the more we are amazed by him. Isn’t it just so cool to think of God this way? Exploring Him and realizing that the more we see, the smaller we feel and that is perfectly okay. The vastness of Him is what makes Him most beautiful. The mountains that we walked through were just breathtaking and so unique like Him.  I want my view of Jesus to be this way because I think a life of wonder and awe of Him is a better way to live. Would we ever get bored of Him if we realized how much more to Him there is?  What if we have only just skimmed the surface? What if we didn’t get out of our cars, just drove through? What if there are so many other places and trails He wants you to follow?  If I realized my whole life I was just going down the same trails, I think my experience of the huge park could get tired-out, repetitive, boring.

How ridiculous would it be for me to think I have seen it all?  Someone pointing out this tree while I simply say, “Saw it”. Another pointing out the beauty of the view… while I say, “Saw that, too”.  The reality is: I had barely seen anything! Don’t you think I should want to explore and see what I could be missing out on?  Here is the wonderful part: exploring God and His ways is not only an adventure, it’s also never ending. We get to explore His ways and thoughts. He is not a boring being somewhere invisible in the sky.  He is beautiful, real, and not only do we get to explore Him, but He loves us. Not only are there different trails, but different seasons, and times of day, and every angle we look at Him can be a different one. He gives us this gift of knowing Him. I want to continue to get out of my car and explore. I want to have a life that is full of wonder and awe of getting to know the One who created it all.  I won’t ever figure Him out completely, but it doesn’t have to discourage me, because even though it He is vast, He is beautiful.

Hey there! I am Alayna & I am twenty-one years old. I grew up in Ohio but have lived in Fort Wayne for the last 3 years. I love Jesus a lot. I take classes at Ivy Tech Community College. I hope to be a photojournalist one day. I love writing, taking photos, eating new foods & seeing new places. My dream day would consist of driving with good music, good food, & good friends. Reading is super cool. I sometimes have an identity crisis when it comes to my favorite color. I love when it rains because it means I don’t have anywhere else to be. Per Cinderella – my goal in life is to have courage & be kind.

2017-08-28T11:56:22+00:00 August 25th, 2017|Discipleship, Encouragement, Growth, Journey|3 Comments
  • april reinhard

    love this!!!! i like hiking too, and i’ve totally had the thought that i wanted to explore ALL the trails and come back during ALL the different seasons….but i’ve never related that thought to what it’s like to explore God. i LOVE your analogy!!! yes, yes, yess!!!

  • Jess Gensic

    Thank you for this, Alayna! Your words and photos are encouraging and so, so refreshing! The reminder that living in awe and wonder is a better way convicts a natural tendency to fear or despair. My favorite line is, “the kind of air you want to take gulps of” and the parallel we can draw to Father God. I want to be thirsty for Him like that.

  • Cherith Cassady Harber

    Wow Alayna, how beautiful that God met you there and spoke such truth to your thirsty heart. Like a sweet love letter jst for you. Thank you for sharing this sweet revelation with us. God is constantly unvailing beauty to us if we have eyes to see.