For all of you nature-lovers reading this, I have a question. Why is it so easy to feel a special peace and closeness to God when outside in His beautiful, wild creation? Perhaps because there is nothing in the way, nothing tainting the glory of His image in the things He has created! Think about it: we are His creation just as much as Yellowstone National Park is His creation! And more than that, we are His very beautiful creation in our own way because everything God creates is made in His image! So why is it so tough to see the beauty in ugly, sinful, broken people? Why are we supposed to see it in all people?
For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.
~Hebrews 3:4 (ESV)
During my senior year of high school, God totally hit me with the realization of His love for all people. And it's not like there was anything that caused it, any big turn of events in my life that kickstarted my viewing of people in a different way. No. It just happened on the bus one day. I realized that even those (sometimes especially those) who don't yet believe in God can be amazing representations of His creativity and glory. God loves and beautifully creates all people as an equally amazing (if flawed) representation of Himself. To realize and strive to treat all people equally with that truth in mind is, I believe, a discipline and a gift. It is true that God wants us to see the potential in every person to become a beautiful work of grace, fully devoted to Christ, but it is also true that He wants us to see where that potential lies actively dormant in every person. The creation glorifies its creator without even trying because it was created by Him, so how much more would the creation glorify its creator if it realized Him and openly confessed, giving praise and worship back to Him through every creative means possible!
Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them.
~Romans 12:6 (ESV)
So when we find ourselves in awe of God's creation, even at Yellowstone National Park, we must understand that the creation we see as beautiful is not, in itself, God. It is a glimpse of a greater beauty. It should be a motivation to give glory to God rather than a place to live forever. We must believe that God is more magnificent than anything we might experience down here, because when we do, we can live with that truth in mind. We can live in constant expectation for something greater. We can use the beauty we see now as an inspiration to push on to good works, fighting for the salvation of others that might open their eyes to the same beautiful realization. Let the fire never be kept hidden, but let it burn bright for all to see both its glory and it's source: Jesus Christ!
For behold, he who forms the mountains and creates the wind, and declares to man what is his thought, who makes the morning darkness, and treads on the heights of the earth—the Lord, the God of hosts, is his name! ~Amos 4:13 (ESV)