When was the last time you stared at something beautiful?
And by beauty, I don’t mean the subjective, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” kind of beauty, but the utterly take-your-breath-away kind of beauty.
Like a sunrise over the ocean’s horizon, or a bird’s eye view of a mountain valley. A majestic waterfall. A forest of magnificently towering Redwoods. A night sky illuminated brightly by the stars.
Put yourself back in that moment. Can you picture it?
It’s been a while since I’ve seen something utterly breathtaking. Sadly, I know. I am a junkie for all things beautiful. Those who know me chuckle when they find themselves overwhelmed by beauty. “I had a ‘Kat moment’ today,” I hear all the time. And it’s true—I’m notorious for having those “moments,” you know…the kind that gets you all existential. It’s the heartbeat behind my (and mostly everyone’s) love for travel.
Last year, I received the incredible opportunity to trek Peru’s second tallest peak. It was a glorious experience. During the hike, I (unashamedly) shed more tears than I can count. Yes, the hike was painful. But more so, it was utterly breathtaking. The experience was surreal. As I stared out into scenery that looked like a picture out of a National Geographic magazine, I found myself (besides shedding tears of joy) naturally thinking more profoundly about life—the depth of it, the meaning of it—reminiscing on where I’ve been, and dreaming about where I’m headed.
I find myself doing that a lot—every time I stare at something beautiful. Don’t you? There’s just something about beauty…it awakens your soul, leaving you to feel utterly alive, yet incredibly insignificant.
The smallness of ourselves and the bigness of the beauty somehow fit together, and in a moment, we are “put in our place” per se…life just seems to make so much more sense. Oh, how liberating it is to not be at the center of our own universe for a moment…to not think of ourselves as more important than we ought. For a moment we are free to just be…to enjoy…to feel small.
As the focus slowly seeps from ourselves and on to something greater, life becomes more profound. Our questions get deeper, our affections are stirred and our admiration is heightened.
And what’s the result of all of this? Worship. Naturally, of course, as we were created to do.
We are left in awe because we don’t fully understand the phenomena, the depth, or the glory behind the beauty. We are left in wonder.
And isn’t wonder a beautiful thing? We worship that which is beyond our fullness of grasp. We respect and revere that which our human minds can’t fully comprehend.
It’s a profound thing, this life we live. And the best part is that it only goes deeper. It doesn’t stop at the sunset, the waterfall, or the mountain. Those are just the masterpieces created by the Artist. In comparison, they are portraits boasting a mere two-dimensional image of the One with the paintbrush in His hand.
As I sit and marvel at the vastness of who God is, I’m left to ponder: is part of the beauty of God…the mystery of God? Is our worship deepened because we delight in a God that is so beyond our finite understanding?
As Paul said to the church in Corinth, “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.”
For now we see dimly, like the groom awaiting the moment to remove the veil hanging over his bride’s face. But soon and very soon, we will see clearly, with unveiled faces. For what is being experienced now is only a glimpse of what will be revealed one day.
Until then, we plead: Jesus, come. We long to see the fullness of Your glory.