I followed the trail back along the side of the lake headed for the vehicle, stopping every now and then to snap a photo. First of the sun gleaming through the pines, then of ducks sunning themselves on a rock in the sunny quiet shadow-streaked water. It was golden hour, the period of time where the sun's rays cast glowing yellow rays through the atmosphere with an enchanted splendor.
Part of me was torn between wanting to simply breathe in the surroundings of nature. The other part wanted to capture it on camera. A continual unsettling feeling plagued me as so many opportunities for post-card quality photos jumped at me from my path on the trail.
What is it? I wondered to myself. How can it be that I so enjoy being in this place, yet I continually choose to distract myself by trying to capture it on an electronic device? Surely there is something my soul is yearning for, and something for which I long to... and then it hit me! Worship.
There is no beauty in creation but that which is revealing the beauty of God. His revelation speaks of His glory. There is no mere material existence which stands alone. "He is before all things, and in Him all things consist."
The ache, the longing, the joy of experiencing the world, the underlying cause of why I immediately turned to my camera to take pictures was not because it was simply a new experience. It was not that I just happened by chance into a place that was photogenic.
It is because I am created to know God. It is because His creation is created to declare His glory! And the only fitting thing I can do when faced with the overwhelming feeling of majesty and beauty in nature is to worship God. To throw down any attempt to reduce it to mere chance, mere material existence separated from divine cause, and to simply and completely give up my soul in praise to the Lord almighty.
I made a note to this effect in my pocket journal which I carried with me for capturing reflections on my hikes.
The enjoying of God is the reason I enjoy experiencing nature. Nature belongs to God. And I belong to God. It is because He made me, and because He has given me faith by which I am united to Jesus Christ and adopted into His family that I see the world in a new light. I do not resist giving Him praise as so many fellow sinners do.
Turning back to the trail leading to the vehicle parked near the hotel, I could not but repeat the chorus,
"I know not why God’s wondrous grace
To me He hath made known,
Nor why, unworthy, Christ in love
Redeemed me for His own.
But “I know Whom I have believed
And am persuaded that He is able
To keep that which I’ve committed
Unto Him against that day."