Updated: Jul 1, 2021
The National Park Service (NPS) tells us the "Grand Canyon National Park encompasses 277 miles of the Colorado River and adjacent uplands.” 1 And the park does not include all of the Grand Canyon!
Stand in a high place on a clear day where you can see for a mile. That is how deep the Grand Canyon is. Take an 18-mile drive; that is how wide it is. We think of ocean depths or other galaxies as waiting to be explored. According to the NPS, the "Grand Canyon was the last largely unexplored area of the West in 1857. Often called "the Great Unknown." 2
" it was literally a blank space on maps.” 3
Due to the immensity of the Grand Canyon, early attempts to explore it either failed or were only partially complete. John Wesley Powell and his crew took four months to pass through the Canyon on the Colorado River. They lost one of their four boats and nearly did not survive. He called the Grand Canyon, “our granite prison.” 4
"Why are you telling me this?” You ask.
Only to ask you, “What do you think about God?”
“What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us." Tozer 5
I was reflecting on David's prayer in Psalm 139 when the Grand Canyon came to mind. It is clear from what He said In Psalm 139, David was amazed by God.
In this Scripture, David describes God as incomprehensibly vast and wonderful. There is no comparison to Him.
To whom or what would you compare God? Anything we could say, about the vast and unexplored Grand Canyon pales into insignificance compared to the Lord Who makes “vast” and “unexplored” sound like understatements.
Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom (Is 40:28).
Even a glimpse of God will blow our minds as it did David's! David pours out His praise for good reason. God has revealed Himself to him.
David said the LORD God had searched him and knew him (Ps. 139:1). God sees and knows us completely. Even a glance from His eyes reveals more about us than what even we know about ourselves. His scan of our lives would make a PET scan or CAT scan seem like a faded Polaroid picture. David realized God knew his thoughts, where he went, what he did, what he said—even before he said it!
David understood he could never escape the presence of God and that God even sees in the dark. He marveled at how God “knit” him together in his "mother’s womb” (Ps. 139:13). David was in awe of how God made him (Ps. 139:14).
Do the marvels of His creation cause you to pause and think of Him?
When you think about God, what is your reaction?
Maybe you are like many in that you are so busy you don’t take time to think about God. I’ve talked to a lot of people about God and some have said, “I don’t think about God.”
I understand. For example, I don’t typically think about the Grand Canyon. I’ve never personally experienced it.
But I am sure that if I even walked up to the rim of the Grand Canyon I would be in awe like most people. It would be unforgettable. I can’t imagine anyone visiting the Grand Canyon and walking away saying, “Meh!"
What about those who take a glance at God’s Creation and read about His wonders and walk away unimpressed?
We can be easily overloaded with our thoughts, cares, needs, problems, and passions. Whether it is because we are shallow and narcissistic or preoccupied with serious problems, for whatever reason, sometimes we just don’t see what is right in front of us.
And we can just as easily miss the glory and the wonder of the majestic, all-powerful, Creator, and Judge—the One True God.
If I never personally experience the Grand Canyon I will be disappointed, but I will still be able to live a full and meaningful life. On the other hand, if I had never personally experienced a real relationship with God, I would have lost everything.
There is One Who offers to reveal Himself to us that is far more wonderful than the Grand Canyon, the oceans, and even the infinite reaches of space.
A few things to keep in mind if you are ready to begin a serious exploration of the Living God:
God "opposes the proud.” We must humble ourselves. It would be silly and dangerous for me to think that I am smart or strong enough to explore the Grand Canyon on my own. We are weak and finite. We could never know anything about God had He not taken the initiative to reveal HImself. And that is in addition to the fact that none of us are worthy to come before God. He “gives grace to the humble." He will not turn away anyone who comes with a contrite, sincere heart (Jas. 4:6; Ps. 51:17).
He is God and we are not. We are totally at His mercy. We have all come short of His glory and sinned (Ro. 3:23). Thankfully, He is loving and merciful. He sent His Son to die for us, but be sure to understand that He did that so those who believe wouldn’t perish. He is offering us mercy—amazing grace (Ps. 8:4; 90:1-6; 103:13-19; Mal. 3:6; et. al.)!
We must be willing to adjust our lives to Him. Because He loves us, God has purposes and plans for us. He operates on His schedule and in His way. Because of Who He is and what He’s done, we can trust Him and surrender to Him. God exalted Jesus “to the highest place and gave Him the name that is above every name” (Phil. 2:9). Why? So “that every knee will bow” (Is. 45:23; Phil. 2:10 NAS) “and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord” (Phil. 2:11).
God reveals Himself to the obedient. God promised to reveal Himself to us when we are obedient (Jn. 14:21). He revealed Himself through His Creation, through His prophets, and ultimately through His Son (Her. 1:1-2). He has revealed Himself through the 66 Books of the Old and New Testaments, which we call the Bible (Is. 40:8; 2 Pt. 1:19; 2 Tim. 3:15-17; Heb. 4:12-13)
We must be teachable. If we were visiting the Grand Canyon, we would be wise to connect with some experienced guides before we begin to explore the Colorado River on a raft. We also need “guides” who are people of integrity walking with God. No pastor is perfect, but God gave us pastors (shepherds) to teach (feed) and guide us. We all need men of God leading the people of God in a healthy church that teaches the Bible, has the right mission, loves one another, and puts into practice what they believe. (Cf. Pr. 5:11-14; 12:15; Acts 17:11).
Be willing to sacrifice. The early explorers of the Grand Canyon were willing to sacrifice to better understand its wonders. Those who are devoted to knowing God are willing to sacrifice to better know Him. Christ expected His first followers to be willing to sacrifice even as He did. He still expects His followers to be willing to sacrifice for Him (Lk. 9:23; Ro. 12:1). Our “sacrifice” cannot and does not pay for our wrongdoings. Only the Lord could do that because He sacrificed Himself for us. But our willingness to sacrifice for Christ very well may reveal what we believe about Him.
Prepare to be amazed. God said, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” (Jer. 29:13), so expect the Lord to reveal Himself to you as you read His word.
Imagine the excitement and trepidation of the early explorers of the Grand Canyon. As you launch into a lifetime of seeking to know and follow Christ, remember He will be with you as you scale the heights and even when you struggle through the valleys. Keep your eyes on Him, and get ready for the ride of your life!
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2. J. W. Powell, The Exploration of the Colorado River and Its Canyons (Dover Publications, Kindle Edition), 131.
4. J. W. Powell, The Exploration of the Colorado River and Its Canyons (Dover Publications, Kindle Edition), 140.
5. A. W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy (Sanage Publishing, Kindle Edition) 10.