A few nights ago, I was on an airplane home from an incredible trip to Colorado Springs. My eyes were glued to the view outside the window as we were literally flying through a sea of clouds, enveloped in light and water, set afire by the sunset at our backs.
The entire trip was encounter after encounter with the Unfathomable. We hiked across the world’s highest suspension bridge at the Royal Gorge, peering into an impossibly deep canyon at the glittering river below. We drove through the Garden of the Gods, marveling at the remarkable beauty of massive rock formations set aflame by light. We even made it to the top of Pike’s Peak, which felt like a foreign planet. You could see 5 different states, and rumor has it, on the clearest days, the curvature of the earth itself is visible to the naked eye. Every day, marvels and wonders never ceased. And it was the peace I’ve so desperately needed.
This summer has been full of unexpected upheaval. A new job, new community, new lifestyle. Camp, VBS, Conferences, and Covid (by far my least favorite of the bunch). I was looking forward to the break this trip would provide, but hadn’t considered the deep soul rest it would give.
You see, a few years ago, sitting on the beach with a bunch of scary yet-to-be diagnosed symptoms, I had a first hand encounter with the peace that comes only in the presence of the unfathomable. I was existing in a world of anxiety. I had just lost my grandfather and was grappling with the grief, struggling with panic attacks, and trying desperately to control and understand what was happening to my body. I was existing in a world that I felt like I should be able to control. But in the presence of an endless ocean, my anxiety melted as I was instantly made to feel my own smallness.
Over time, I’ve noticed a trend in myself as well as in my children. Our anxieties and insecurities all seem to flare up in the presence of issues that we feel like we should be able to control. I might experience sadness about situations I can’t control, but my anxiety tends to rear its ugly head when my own sense of importance and ability gets too big.
I read something interesting recently about how our social media addictions actually feed our sense of omniscience. In my pocket, I carry access to all the world’s knowledge and news, as well as the business and thoughts of any friend or celebrity I care to look up. Now, I’m no counselor, but I have a strong suspicion that the anxiety that has been undoubtedly linked to smartphone usage has a lot to do with the sense of control we glean from it. Like Adam and Eve, we are trying to be like God. And we are terrible at it.
So why, Story Warren readers, am I telling you all of this? Well, as I was staring out the window, I glanced around to see everyone else, including my own children, glued to screens. They were missing the Marvelous. The Unfathomable. The peace that passes understanding that only comes when confronted with your own smallness in the presence of an infinite, loving God. I couldn’t invite the whole plane into the miracle, but I could invite my children.
If you have yet to encounter the Unfathomable with your children this summer, can I humbly and eagerly encourage you to do so? Lay on a hill in the sunshine and look at the clouds, Drive out a ways into rural darkness and marvel at the night sky. Take them to the symphony where the sound is too big to fit in your pocket, or to a Botanical Garden where the textures and colors and smells are impossible to capture on a screen. Give them a taste of this big, wild, wonderful world that was made by a bigger, wilder, more wonderful God. It won’t make any of your problems, or theirs, disappear. But I have a strong hunch that in the presence of something so large, they will be reminded of the One who is Unfathomable himself, the one who reveals mysteries and is the source of all knowledge and wisdom. The One to whom our problems are no bigger than a grain of sand, yet who loves us dearly and knows each of us by name. And that, dear friends, is perhaps the most Unfathomable thing of all.Photo by freepik.com