When Silas was alive, we stopped traveling.
We didn’t fully realize it; it just slowly became more difficult to travel around the country hauling a trunk full of medical equipment and a child who was very broken. His body revolted against the rigors of travel–his seizures increased on trips, which made him more lethargic, and put us more on edge.
What if we couldn’t get the seizures stopped? What if we needed to get to a mitochondrial specialist quickly?
We hauled our worry around like luggage, all too heavy to carry ourselves.
After he died, we realized that travel, once again, was possible. Though we missed Silas’ quiet companionship on our journeys, we knew we could not stop living.
Traveling is a way for me to experience God, to stand in awe and wonder of His beauty, to realize my insignificance against His magnificence.
It’s not that awe and wonder can’t be experienced in the backyard, but sometimes it takes getting out of my ordinary existence to remove the planks from my eyes.
A few years ago, we shifted our travel priorities to places where God’s creation was on full display. We got lost in mountains and woods. We roamed for miles. We saw the stars again.
This year’s trip to the Grand Canyon has been almost two years in the making. Though we could have waited until a more convenient time, like when our kids were grown, or when we were retired or had more freedom or money, I will tell you what I’ve learned from life:
I don’t wait anymore.
I don’t wait until I have the time or am in the right season of life. I don’t wait, because there’s never a guarantee that those things will fall into place.
Sometimes you can wait and wait, and never find the time.
I can give you a list of friends for whom life did not turn out like expected.
They would tell you, Don’t wait.
They would say, Go now.Travel teaches me that there is still so much to learn about the Creator and myself.
God was here before the rivers cut through the massive stones, before the plates pushed into each other and the landscape rose up, layer upon layer, towering thousands of feet above the seas. The landscape in this place, both beautiful and terrifying, is the ultimate lesson in seeing my frailty contrasted against His strength.
When I think I’m in control, one small hike up the canyon shows me my weakness. My legs ache, my breathing labors, I can hardly climb the path ahead.
When you feel very small and the world around you towers frighteningly high, there is a God who knows your struggle and will not let you fall from His hand. Sometimes our journey takes us through rough terrain, where there is only scorching sun and a steep, rocky climb.
We wonder if we can go on. We wonder: Where is God?
This is where we cling to faith, to the rock that is higher and trust that He will not let our feet slip.
“He will not let your foot slip– he who watches over you will not slumber.” (Ps. 121:3)
It is not the easy journeys that strengthen us, but the hard ones–the rocky paths that almost kill us, but somehow, miraculously, we survive by God’s grace.
We come to a place in our faith where we look over the canyon walls, see the imposing landscape, but do not fear what lies ahead.
Because what lies ahead is what He holds securely in his hands.
He created the majestic and terrifying beauty of this place. If He created it, then He is in complete authority over it.
In our hard journeys, may we look around and see His complete power over everything.May we not fear the towering cliffs or the unknown difficulties ahead.
In the midst of terrifying beauty, may we find complete peace.
May we revel in his glorious creation and see a glimpse of his overwhelming power.
When we see a glimpse, may we live in awe and wonder that the God who created all this, loves us and will see us through.
“But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Is. 40:31