I rarely post glimpses-of-my-life on this blog. But after Rachel and I climbed Half Dome this past weekend in Yosemite, I couldn’t hold back praises echoing Psalm 8.
“When I consider the work of Your fingers…what is man that you are mindful of him?”
The 16+ mile hike, rising nearly 5,000 feet in elevation (and then back down again), left us with weary legs and full hearts. What glorious things the Lord has made!
Yes, it’d be neither possible nor desirable to forget that the earth and humanity have been marred profoundly by evil. As often observed on this blog, even life’s greatest blessing most always come intertwined with pain.
Yet the converse of this is also true: even amidst all the ill effects of sin, creation yet “pours forth speech” that declares the glory of God (Psalm 19). As Romans 1 puts it, even God’s invisible qualities and character are revealed by the testimony of nature. All that we see and experience carries this same profound contrast: brokenness and beauty, our pervasive sin nature and the Imago Dei, heartache and delight.
One of my favorite poems is “God’s Grandeur” by Gerard Manley Hopkins. After beginning with the joyous declaration that “THE WORLD is charged with the grandeur of God…” Hopkins descends into the ache and anguish of a fallen world, lamenting that all is “bleared, smeared with toil. And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell..” Yet as he closes, Hopkins revisits a deeper truth in words I love to whisper to myself watching a sunrise or atop a granite peak:
And for all this, nature is never spent; There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs—
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.
(On Half Dome’s “Diving Board”–sporting the sharp 2012 Orphan Sunday T-Shirt!)