People often tell us “When on a Trek, I see God more clearly.” Usually this means that they notice nature more while hiking, backpacking, traveling and generally living outside. Spending most of our time in our insulated and walled offices, homes and cars, it is easy to miss just how big nature is. With the AC blowing cold and the radio blasting, we sometimes do not notice nature, or even interact with it. For most of us, nature exists in the background, holding a distant 4th or 5th place behind Netflix, social media and whatever crazy thing the news is reporting. If nature does take front and center in our daily conversations, it is usually to gripe about how hot it is outside or how much we wish it would rain.
When outdoors we connect with Gods creation on a deep and meaningful level that cannot be achieved when driving down the highway at 75mph in our cars.
The truth is that nature does bring us closer to Gods presence because nature allows us to see Gods creation more clearly. You cannot go for a hike or a bike ride or go camping without noticing just how big, how grand, and how massive nature is. Have you ever stood on a mountain top? It is absolutely amazing how far you can see and how much your perspective on your place in the world changes. But is this recognizing or awaking to nature the same as seeing God? This connection we feel with nature while enjoying outdoor activities is not the same as the connection we feel with God. Let me see if I can explain.
The creator God made the earth and everything in it,
Col 1:16 says, “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:”
Scripture has made it clear, God is the creator and nature is HIS creation (Gen 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth) God dwells in everything and is preset in all of his creation (including nature) There is no place that God is not (Psalms 139:8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there)
Because God is in everything we often mistake our recognizing Gods reflection in something for God himself (or herself but that’s another blog post). A.W. Tozer says it best in his classic book The Pursuit of God, “The presence of God and the manifestation of the presence are not the same thing. There can be one without the other. God is here when we are wholly unaware of it. He is manifest only when and as we are aware of His presence.”
To put it more simply, you can recognize Gods creation without recognizing God. Just because you see and appreciate Gods creation, does not mean that you clearly see God.
You see people often mistake the beauty of nature, the majestic sunset, the glorious sunrise, and the awe-inspiring views as God. The beauty we see is not God, it is the manifestation of God. Beauty in nature is evidence of who God is.
We can learn a lot about who God is through nature and it speaks volumes that God made nature so majestic, so rewarding, so fulfilling. God could have made us robots who do not need love or poetry, or music, but for some reason God made us to enjoy and connect with natural beauty on a deep and meaningful level.
So, what does all of this mean for you?
It means you should not settle for a just a great experience in nature. Go deeper than the view. Look behind the sunset, look past the ocean sky, look into nature to see who made it. God seeks to speak to you, teach you, hear from you. We see some pretty amazing things every day here at Trek, but none of them are as great as when we see men and women connect with God on a deep and life changing level. Natural beauty can be a primer for connecting with God, but never mistake Gods creation, Gods manifestation, for God. Look deeper than the sunset and ask what is behind it.
Our belief, our hope, our prayer for you is that you will not just go to nature to see God, but that nature will draw you closer to God by giving you opportunity to see what is behind nature…a creator God who love you and wants to speak to you.
So, what are you waiting for? Go outside, God has something he wants to talk to you about.