Only in Experience can we Capture True Color

Looking down on Vernal Falls from North Dome in Yosemite National Park, California

Looking down on Vernal Falls from North Dome in Yosemite National Park, California

In a 1965 interview, Andrew Wyeth (the painter) was quoted as saying,

 

“I can think of nothing more exciting than just sitting in a cornfield on a windy fall day and listening to the dry rustle… If one could only catch that true color of nature – the very thought drives me mad.”

Reflections in Blue Lake, Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, California

Reflections in Blue Lake, Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, California

When I take pictures of the places I go in the wilderness, I try to capture the aura of a place – the beauty I see before my eyes.  But more times than not, looking at the pictures later, I see that I have failed to capture the true beauty that was really there.  The pictures may be fabulous, but they haven’t caught the mood, the feeling of, for example, being surrounded by snow-capped peaks, the peacefulness of the quiet valley, or the total desolation of the desert.

You just can't capture Utah!  (Especially the land around Coyote Gulch!)

You just can’t capture Utah! (Especially the land around Coyote Gulch!)

It’s the same thing when we encounter God.  We can talk about God, paint pictures, tell of how He has impacted us.  But the stories, the paintings, the words all fall short of the actual experience.

God can’t be captured or expressed by us any more than we can take a picture of the Grand Canyon and say, “This is the total experience of the Grand Canyon.”

You can't capture the incredible beauty of the Grand Canyon; the Grandview Trail is even better than this!

You can’t capture the incredible beauty of the Grand Canyon; the Grandview Trail is even better than this!

It’s why words and sermons and testimonies are great, but they can’t take the place of our own experience of God.

Views from Reynolds Mountain in Glacier National Park, Montana

Views from Reynolds Mountain in Glacier National Park, Montana

Going down to the library and watching a presentation and testimony of a person who climbed Mt. Rainier is interesting.  It can fuel the fire that is already within you to visit Mt. Rainier National Park someday.  But it’s nothing like actually going and climbing Mt. Rainier yourself.

Mt. Rainier from the Eagle Cliff Viewpoint in Mt. Rainier National Park, Washington

Mt. Rainier from the Eagle Cliff Viewpoint

To stand in the meadows of Paradise and see the hillsides thickly covered in wildflowers, smell the flowers yourself, dip your fingers in the tiny stream that rushes self-importantly in a crevice between mossy banks, to stand in awe of Mt. Rainier in a cloudless sky, its glaciers sparkling in the sun and its cliffs grey and solid, green, glaciated waterfalls pouring out from under the glacier’s toe.

A waterfall pours from beneath a glacier on Mt. Baker, Washington

A waterfall pours from beneath a glacier on Mt. Baker, Washington

I can describe it because I have seen it.  But I can’t capture its true colors.  I can’t give you the experience unless you are there.

Views across The Maze from Grand View Point in the Island in the Sky District of Canyonlands National Park, Utah

Views across The Maze from Grand View Point in the Island in the Sky District of Canyonlands National Park, Utah

To hear about God is good.  But to experience God is far better.  Because with the experience of God, you see true colors, and colors in all their brilliant fullness.