I sat in the truck, watching the rain beat against the windshield and breathing in the fresh aroma of a wet dog. “Well, this day was a bust,” I said out loud to my dog Boe.
Neither my wife nor I had ever been to the Grand Canyon, and we were excited to take our boys to experience it for the first time all together. We were staying in Arizona for a family vacation and decided to take a day trip to see this great wonder.
By the time we arrived at the park, it was pouring rain. Determined to make the most of the trip, we decided that optimism would be our mindset. We parked in a relatively empty parking lot close to the visitor center and headed out. After doing our best to dodge water puddles and keep the puppy from running off, we arrived on the edge of a lookout. At least, that’s what I think it was.
As we looked out, we could no longer deny the reality of our situation despite our best attempts to have a positive attitude. We looked out to see a grand display of nothing. All we could see was the rainy mist that engulfed us. Knowing that there was a massive crater just a few feet away from us was a strange feeling, but we could hardly see anything. We felt that something massive, awesome, and beautiful was just beyond the veil, yet we couldn’t see it with our eyes. We couldn’t appreciate the scope or beauty we had heard others discuss. We were right on the edge of something great, yet all we could see were a few distorted images of wet rock.
By this time, our dog Boe had broken free from his leash. I was cold, soaking wet, and now my dog, in his excitement, was free to run wild. To top it all off, I couldn’t even see the Grand Canyon. So I took him back to sit in the truck while my wife and the boys hiked to see if the fog had a break. There wasn’t. Just more of a sense of something awesome that we couldn’t perceive.
We packed up and started the long drive home. After returning to where we were staying, I realized we had spent around five hours driving and were probably only at the canyon for an hour. Yet despite how disappointing the whole experience had been, it reminded me of this passage of scripture. 1 Corinthians 13:12: “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known”.
I have heard skeptics say something like, “Well, if God is real, why doesn’t he just show me that He’s real?” That’s like me saying, “I don’t think the Grand Canyon exists. I was there, and all I saw was a bunch of fog and rain.” I knew the Grand Canyon was real. Just because it was hidden behind some veil didn’t change its reality. Just because I couldn’t see its size or beauty didn’t mean it wasn’t massive and beautiful. I could tell I was standing before something great even though I couldn’t see it.
This is the way it is with God. Who can know the mind of God? Who can see or perceive the Creator of all things? We know what we know of him because he has revealed it to us, but we can never fully understand.
On our way back, the rain stopped, and the skies began to clear up, but there was no way of knowing if it was clear at the canyon, and to turn around meant more time in the car, so we just kept going. I couldn’t help but wonder what we would have experienced if we would have given it more time. What would we have seen if we were willing to wait out the storm?
I feel like so many people come to the edge of knowing God’s incredible love, forgiveness, and beauty but step away because their preconceived ideas about Him cloud their minds. They think, “That’s not what I was taught about God, or that just doesn’t seem right to me.” These thoughts cloud our ability to see the truth of the Almighty. Just because we don’t understand God doesn’t mean He isn’t God.
I would say that if we could behold all of Him, then He wouldn’t be God. We do see, but that view is distorted, clouded, in part. I don’t know why some things are the way they are, but I do know that God is God, and He has a plan.
I would encourage you today to grow in knowledge and understanding with the knowledge and understanding that we will never fully comprehend all of God. He is infinite.
We see a powerful picture of this concept in the Book of Job. Job had been questioning God’s goodness and plan for his life. When God finally speaks to Job, He says in Job 38:4–7: “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements—surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy?”
God continues, but the point is clear. I may not have all the answers to your difficulties or questions, but I know God is closer than you realize. Though you may not see Him, He is there, and getting to know Him is the great adventure that life is all about.
Trevor Rickard is an Associate Pastor at New Life Christian Fellowship.