I know I promised a meditation on the Lord’s Prayer, but this week I decided to share some thoughts from our week in Canyonlands. My husband & I spent an amazing week exploring the beauty of God’s creation in the Canyonlands area of UT. It was awe inspiring to look at the pillars and arches so artfully crafted by the hand of God using wind and water and time. It was also the first time, in a long time that we had been away together—just the 2 of us. It kind of felt almost honeymoonish (if you can feel that way after 33+ years of marriage).
We made a big looping tour, starting in ABQ and going up to the 4 Corners (have to stop there at least once in your life—just to say you did it!). Then on up to Monticello, UT where we stayed while exploring the area. Arches National Park, then the Needles end of Canyonlands, a jet boat ride down the Colorado River from Moab to the edge of Canyonlands, and then on the last day a visit to the Island in the Sky end of Canyonlands National Park. Then we drove through southern CO on our way to the annual Chama Book Fair.
It’s beautiful country and even having living in NM, where sandstone cliffs and formations are fairly common, I was awed. The heights and details of the rock sculptures were amazing. I agree with what someone said—Canyonlands is the start of the Grand Canyon. It may be deeper and narrower, but the vistas and variety in UT are not to be missed.
You can see very clearly the many layers of sediment deposited by water, wind, and erosion in the cliffs and pillars. I came away thinking about God’s work in our lives. The layers of sediment left by the seas and rivers flowing, receding, and evaporating remind me of all the varied experiences that make up our lives. Some are good and rich, like the soil deposited by floods. There are arid times, like the wind blown sand that left a white layer. Sometimes we feel are getting dumped on, like the layers formed by erosion of the surrounding areas.
Only when all the layers (life experiences) are compressed together can God start His artistry in order to expose the beauty that lies beneath. After visiting the Needles portion of Canyonlands, we drove out to the Overlook. I mentioned, to Ken, that it was amazing to be driving on the top layer of the same material that had been formed into the fantastic pillars. You wouldn’t know that only a couple of miles away (as the crow flies) there were astonishing formations. Then when we reached the Overlook and stared down 2000 feet onto the tops of the same features, I was awed by the beauty that was exposed and the expanse of area that was filled with God’s handiwork.
Our awesome God uses joys and troubles, triumphs and fears to refine (erode) away the unnecessary parts of our lives and expose the beauty of our gifts within when we allow Him free reign in our hearts. Who knows what beautiful creations God can make out of what we consider ‘bad’ or ‘worthless’ times and experiences?
A friend remarked, “Unnecessary stuff gets blown/washed away until we can stand alone like those fabulous formations....even with holes through the center of us!” She added, “[We are] Not really alone, because we and they are connected/grounded.”
Viewing all God’s artwork in canyons and arches and pillars was also a reminder, to me, that God takes all the time necessary to form beauty out of what may look on the surface to be pretty barren. Each piece of rock and each person is shaped into exactly the right formation at exactly the right time and in the right way. I personally get impatient and want results ‘right now’. This trip was a good lesson in God’s timing and a reminder to be patient with myself so that I don’t get ahead of God’s perfect plan.Do you feel that you are being battered by the winds of change? Be patient, God is working mightily to form in you something marvelous. Whether you see the result or not, others around you will come to recognize the beauty of God’s hand on and in your life.
Check back next week for the Lord's Prayer meditation.