What is it about natural beauty that causes our jaws to drop? Why do we respond with awe-inspired wonder at something we know the ingenuity of man couldn't possibly create? I think it's because deep within ourselves we know that we need to be reminded that there is Someone bigger than ourselves.
This past weekend I had the tremendous privilege of taking a friend on her first journey, not only outside the borders of the USA, but on her first ever real vacation. We took a weekend trip to Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada, so that our friend could use her passport, obtained for a trip she ended up unable to take. I have been to the Falls before, but honestly, I never get tired of them and would go again tomorrow. During our most recent trip we spent most of the day right along the Niagara River in view of the Falls almost all the time and we found ourselves constantly drawn to watch them, snap another photo and just wonder at their unending flow, unending majesty, unending power. Truly, the most significant moment of the weekend for me came as we rode the famous Maid of the Mist boat as close to the Falls as the vessel could safely go. There is a point when the boat stops in the center of the Horseshoe Falls. Those on the journey are drenched with mist and surrounded by the constant crashing of the tremendous amount of water constantly flowing over the jagged cliff. It was at that moment when our friend turned around and said "Thank you so much!". I understood her feelings at that place.
My last journey on the Maid of the Mist had been almost exactly seven years ago in the midst of a time that was one of the most difficult in my life. At that same moment of the trip toward the Falls I remember feeling overwhelmingly safe. I wanted to be inside the Falls and the boat just couldn't get close enough. I wanted that moment, surrounded by the tangible illustration and awareness of a Power so much bigger than me, never to end. The reminder that God, in His unending majesty and power, had created these overwhelmingly beautiful and powerful Falls made me feel that my problems were not insurmountable and reminded me that His power was enough to carry me through the trials I would return to when the trip inside the Falls was over. I left the Maid of the Mist with a peace I had been unable to attain before my journey close to the awe-inspiring Niagara Falls.
I expect my friend felt some of that peace and safety that I felt surrounded by the Falls. That, to me, is a gift far more precious than the trip itself. I wish you that same kind of peace as you experience the natural beauty that is near to you.