Monday, March 5, 2012

Monday, March 5, 2012

The Real Thing

Many years ago I had the opportunity to visit Yosemite National Park. For years, I had seen pictures, slides, and postcards of that place, and I knew that someday I wanted to visit. I can still remember the excitement as my friend and I drove into the park late on a Friday afternoon in November. The first familiar sight I remember seeing was El Capitan in the distance—an enormous rock that’s like a wall. Everything was shaded already, but there was a magnificent sight spotlighted by the sun; it seemed it was just for us. By the time we got into the valley, it was dark already. I could only see shadows of some of those familiar scenes in the pictures and slides, and I thought I couldn’t wait until daylight.

The next morning, it stayed dark fairly long because of the time of year but also because these enormous walls of rocks on either side keep the light from shining into the valley until late in the day. After breakfast, we began a hike up Vernal Falls. By this time, the light was streaming into the valley, reflecting off the ponds, bouncing off these gorgeous rock formations. I have never seen anything so spectacular in all my life. All the descriptions I had heard and all the pictures I had seen did not compare to the glory and magnitude of the real thing. I felt as if I were standing in a postcard, swallowed up by the beauty. Yosemite, like many other beautiful places, is something you have to experience first-hand to fully appreciate it.

God wanted so much for us to know and appreciate him for who he is that he went to great lengths to make himself known in Jesus Christ. Though God revealed himself in the past, these were just pictures and postcards of what was to come in his son. Hebrews 1:1-3 says, In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his son, who he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. The only way we could even know God is if he chose to reveal himself to us. He has always revealed himself to his people, but in Jesus Christ, he has come to live among us that we might know him better and truly understand his nature and will for our lives.

No one has ever seen God,
      not so much as a glimpse.
   This one-of-a-kind God-Expression,
      who exists at the very heart of the Father,
      has made him plain as day (John 1:18, The Message).

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