(This is one I wrote while I was with OSCPi at Piatra Craiului.)
We're at Piatra Craiului right now, and let me tell you, there are few other places I've ever been as pretty. We're the only thing around besides trees and rocks (and maybe some bears) for miles and miles. In front of the cabana are these big mountains, snow still on them. And behind us are these huge white rock mountains that jut straight upward. It's no use trying to describe them.
During worship this morning someone read from Psalm 19: "The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world." It's exactly that.
I was thinking about how when people talk about God's creation and say it's impossible to see it and not believe in God--well, I have always had a hard time relating to that, honestly. I don't really know how to say. As if the mountains or the stars were the ultimate proof of God, that if you had doubts or questions, his creation would fix it up quick. To be fair, that is certainly over-simplifying the approach I'm referring to.
All these things--the sky and enormous mountains--none of it proved to me there was a God. It did help me get there, and as C. S. Lewis says, it gave me words for things I'd otherwise have no meaning for (glory, fear of God). I remember very clearly one particular moment in really giving my life to the Lord (becoming a Christian for me was more of a process than an altar-call decision), and I was looking at the stars, praying, had just recently begun to understand about Jesus, and all of a sudden it occurred to me that it was real, all this business about God, it really is real. Not that I was actively doubting it before--that would come later--although I wondered a lot, had tons of questions, but then there was this overwhelming sense that it was real and true, and joy like you wouldn't believe.
And the stars I was looking at through a gap between furniture above me (we were moving, and I was in the bed of the truck underneath it all--not enough room in the cab)--there was suddenly so much more depth to them. I don't know how to explain it more than that. I think I saw God in his creation before I knew it was him in the sense that I experienced awe and wonder, but until I knew him I didn't know it was him I was seeing. With some people I know it is the inverse, that a mountain too big to climb led them to God. And so it is. I think he brings each of us to him differently.
But the questions remain, and I think about the students who have so many of them. And I know that I can point to these lunging mountains, to the places in my life where he has changed me, again and again to my God wherever he is made known. But I must point to him. I am reminded that if I don't, even the rocks will cry out. But the questions--it's a wrestling with them, and how do you explain to a student that the vastness of a mountain is nothing next to the vastness of God when what they see behind it is empty sky? If eternity leads to a wide emptiness and not to life, then what? How? I think at some point it is only God's work--but what a blessing it is to be a part of it now.
Yesterday when we were hiking we climbed to the base of those huge white rocks, the ones that jutted straight upward. They're crazy-looking even from here, from a place where I can behold a stretch of them at once. But there, right at the place where they came up out of the mountain against nearly dark-blue sky, well how do you describe it? I got dizzy and nearly fell down the very steep incline beside us. And I could only see this one small part at a time, no matter how much I looked. I had to keep craning and opening my eyes and still it was impossible.
You think about this massive thing that from far away you can frame all of and even miles and miles away it still looks enormous and then you come up close and it's just beyond comprehending as a whole. My mind brings this to God: the closer you get to him, the bigger he is? The more there is to know? It's easier to comprehend from a distance, more like the idea of God as opposed to knowing him, but as you get closer--well yes, you see the details better but I could walk around and climb those rocks the whole of my life, touching the crevices with my hands and still I wouldn't know it all. And even if I could, I'm still only really understanding in any given moment parts of the whole. And imagine God as a mountain--surely he would be bigger than these.
(Here I got chased inside so we could start the talks for the day--but the questions keep going. How much of our God there is to know! How unending it is!)
(Sorry for the low quality on the picture--swiped it off of facebook.)