In February of 2004 I spent a month backpacking and canoeing in and around Big Bend National Park as part of an 8-month graduate program in wilderness leadership through Wheaton College. This experience opened my eyes, not simply to the beauty of Gods creation, but to the reality that all creation worships the Creator.
Traveling in the desert is not easy. It is dry and dangerous, filled with snakes and stickers, and I was not expecting this desert jaunt to be a stroll through the Garden of Eden. Nevertheless, I was astounded by the stark beauty, inspiring vistas, and surprisingly abundant life to be found in the Texas wilderness.
Over the course of many miles hiked through the park and paddled down the Rio Grande, I fell in love with the beauty of this desert landscape. The many varied forms of cacti, impressive rock formations, numerous species of birds (more than any other national park in the country), 8,000-foot mountains, colorful sunrises, and clear night skies provided a tableau for God to paint upon.
Perhaps the most spectacular scene in this Texas desert is the brilliant night sky. With its dry, clear air, and being dozens of miles from any cities, Big Bend affords some of the best star gazing in the U.S. Each night I lay down on my sleeping bag under an open sky and gazed in wonder at the magnificence of Gods handiwork.
It was here, in the desert, that I truly began to understand the importance of Psalm 148 for our generation today:
Praise the Lord from the earth, you great sea creatures and all ocean depths, lightning and hail, snow and clouds, stormy winds that do his bidding, you mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars, wild animals and all cattle, small creatures and flying birds (7-10)
We humans are not the only ones that worship the Creator. The Bible says that all of creation sings Gods praise. Cacti and lilies, deserts and forests, doves and scorpions–everything that God created worships him. When we carelessly or needlessly destroy something that God has created, we are destroying something that was designed to bring God glory and which he called good. Thus, caring for Gods creation is an active way of worshipping our Creator.
Before Texas I had always enjoyed the wilderness environment, but had never connected this natural experience with my faith. Experiencing God in the Texas desertseeing him glorified in the magnificent canyons, vibrant sunsets, intricate desert flowers, peaceful mornings, and striking mountainsbrought new understanding to what it means to worship.
Brian serves as the Director of Communications for Blessed Earth and is passionate about helping people connect their faith with God’s call to care for his creation. He lives with his wife, Becky, and daughter, Acadia (“Cadie”), in western New York where he also serves as the Director of Intercultural Student Programs at Houghton College.