Each bike trip seems to develop its own spiritual impact. One year my prayer and worship led to some conclusions about doing ministry. Another astounded me with the beauty of the northwest and Glacier National Park. Some deliver great times with long time friends and fellow followers of Jesus.
This year changed the pattern. We rode 3800 miles in eight states, from near sea level to over 10,000 ft. What most struck me was what creation reveals about the Creator, and I still struggle to integrate it. Here’s why.
We often stopped alongside the road, to take pics, to change our gear, to rest our butts. Many times delicate flowers grew in profusion, with seeds almost too small to see, yet large enough to reproduce. I’m sure their beauty covers hillsides unseen by man and likely unappreciated by animals. Sunrises and sunsets, like the Idaho one above, amazed us. Massive mountains formed the spine of entire ecosystems, with every element of plant and animal and insect interacting to form the balance necessary for their lives. At night, the stars shone in numbers unimagined in SoCal. We could see at most 6,000, but astronomers say there are 100 billion trillion, that number determines the mass density of the universe, which controls the rate of fusion that powers the stars. Too few stars, and fusion would be so slow the important elements like oxygen wouldn’t form. Too many, and fusion would be so fast nothing could form.
That brought up a problematic paradox. Too often, we view God as a being much like us, merely bigger. So our worship and service and commitment match our puny view. But on this trip, I tried to imagine, to comprehend, what kind of being would be necessary to create this world, this solar system, this universe. With its detail and magnitude and complexity. I can’t come close, and that troubles me.
I want the safety of a God I can at least comprehend. Not match, but at least grasp. And I can’t begin to do that. His awesomeness, his transcendence, his otherness all run through the electric lines of my mind like 220 volts in a 9 volt circuit. My God may be too big. A God like this exceeds my dreams, and may ask too much. Validly. I honestly don’t want a God just a step or two above me. But can I handle a God billions of orders of magnitude above me?
And slowly, months later, I’m closer to coming to grips with that, accepting that God truly exceeds my imagination and comprehension. Yes, I allow that tension. After all, it’s reality.
Kick Starting the Application
Where do you land on the continuum of God’s majesty? Is he like us only more, or totally other? How does that belief impact your following? Which view best matches reality? When people meet angels, the angels first words tend to be, “Don’t be afraid.” But when angels meet God, they quiver, according to Isaiah 6:1-5. Have you ever quivered in the presence of God?
Are you willing to explore the transcendence of God, and let it take you where it will?