My favorite moment when I climb a mountain is getting to what I am going to start calling the “magical” elevation. All morning long you climb with the daunting and overwhelming mountain above you, goading you on. And all around you can see the neighboring mountains. But that’s it. The valley below, the trees around you, a few mountains around you. The world somehow feels a little smaller.
And you climb, and climb, and climb some more. (or, if you’re with me, you stop about twenty times to catch your breath and a drink of water) And you don’t exactly know when it happened because you’re still not at the summit, but you turn around and something surprises you.
It’s no longer the nearest few mountains you see. You’re high enough up you can see over them. And you can see not just one or two mountains, but dozens, and many mountain ranges, and clouds off in the distance, and, oh my gosh, is that my house in the distance?
A week ago I was on Mount Quandary and when I realized I was high enough up to see over the nearest mountains, I gasped. It was so beautiful, so incredible, so breathtaking.
Mountains may not be your thing, but I bet you have something you can relate to that is so beautiful you can remember it taking your breath away. Young fathers have told me they experienced this in the delivery room when she was holding their newborn baby. Scientists have said they experienced it looking at something tiny under a microscope. Skiers have seen it at the top of a mountain watching snow fall.
I get goosebumps everytime I look up and see the milky way with so many stars. Or when I sit down on a beach on the Pacific ocean and look at water so large it covers nearly an entire side of the globe. Or when I stood at the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone at sunset.
There are a million things, unbelievably enormous like the milky way and imperceptibly tiny like the life of bacteria, that when you begin to take it all in, you just stop. It’s beautiful. It’s awe inspiring.
I’ve always been a little bothered by Philippians 2:10 because it says that every knee will one day bow before Jesus and verse 11 says that every tongue will confess Him as Lord. And the way I have always pictured this is the full throng of humanity standing at the throne of God with a bunch of angels pushing and shoving people to the ground because they weren’t bowing at Jesus. I know plenty of people who know about Jesus that want nothing to do with Him. What will be different about that day?
And I think it will be awe. We’ve all grown up with very different ideas and versions of what God and Jesus must be like, but on that day, we’re going to get up to the right elevation and every thing we ever thought about Jesus will fall away and we will see Him for who He is.
And just like the only response to the Grand Canyon is to go, “Wow!” and the only response to the Pacific Ocean is to say, “I feel small” and the only response to seeing the Rocky Mountains is to go, “This is so beautiful!”, the only response when we see Jesus for who He really is will be to fall to our knees and worship. Not because some angel pushed us over, but because we won’t be able to help it.
Because, and you know that if there is a God this has to be true, He’s bigger than all of that. He’s bigger than the Milky Way, and if looking up at the night sky causes me to shudder and go, “Wow!” how much more than getting a glimpse of God on His throne is going to make me realize how small I really am?
Anything in life that has caused you to stand back in awe, God made that. And He made the part of you that marvels at it. Whether you intend to or not, one day you will marvel at God. You will be astonished. Because of His power, because of His strength, because of His compassion, because of His self-sacrifice, because of His care.
Because everything that has beauty is but a small reflection of how beautiful He is.
And you and I are designed to be awed. And when we awe at God revealing what He’s really like to all of humanity; all of us, no exceptions, will fall down and worship the most valuable, beautiful, loving Being that has ever been.