Nature can generate intense responses for some people — at least it does for me. The sounds, scents and feelings an outdoor adventure brings can have a lasting effect on me.
I recently had the opportunity to go to Switzerland, a country known for its fresh water, high mountains and cool winds. Staying in the Swiss Alps had been an experience I always hoped for, but I never thought it could become a reality. The plane, train, bus and gondola rides made my dream tangible in the most refreshing and real way.
The Mountain Hostel was more than we could have hoped for. You feel the friendly environment, and adventure-seeking spirit the minute you walk through the door. You are greeted by exposed wood covered in murals, and pass hiking gear at every turn. Everyone is told to clean up after themselves and have fun.
We heard the wind in the trees as the crystal-clear water pushed rapidly through the forest, battling against rocks and exploding into fragments elevated in the air. We smelled fresh grass, accompanied usually by grazing animals. We felt the Earth under our feet as we hiked through grass, dirt and stones up hills, past waterfalls and streams.
Later, our tired feet dangled thousands of meters above the valleys of the Alps as we glided through the air on paraglides. We put our trust in the men behind our backs and we ran, and then jumped.
As we hiked up to our departure site, I expected to feel some kind of hesitance. I thought maybe the fear would come when I looked down, hanging by wires which are thinner than you’d expect them to be. I never felt scared — I felt peace.
The beauty that surrounded me throughout the day suddenly came into focus in a whole different perspective. Gliding past waterfalls and cliffs, I grasped how small I am.
Many people feel this way when surrounded by enormous mountains. When we first arrived it was my first thought. But, flying above most of the things making you feel tiny, and feeling tinier still, that’s a different story.
What I Learned
I try to immerse myself in nature as much as possible because I enjoy the adventure, but also because of what it teaches me about God and about myself.
We will never stop learning new things about God. But, what always interests me is how we can realize something many times, and still be utterly taken aback by it.
Looking at massive mountains, each with their own crevices, waterfalls and unexplored fortresses, I had one of those moments. The Creator that stitched each mountain together, that painted the sky and filled the sea, molded me. And, we are all collectively created to glorify Him.
I look at the mountains (or any beautiful site of nature) and I usually get emotional taking in the perfect artistry of each detail. Then I remember I was designed by the same maker. He put air in my lungs so I may awe in wonder as I fly past his hand-made rock collection. He put toes on my feet so I can run to explore more of his canvas.
Creation astonishes me. I think that’s why I love spending time discovering it. Discovering creation means consistently being enlightened by the vast beauty the Lord constructed.
You don’t have to be in one of the most beautiful places in the universe to unearth these revelations. God is a meticulous artist, and his perfectly crafted world is full of reminders of this truth.
“If the mountains bow in reverence so will I.” – Hillsong United