God’s Extravagance in the Wilderness

Fireweed and Mt. Baker from the Ptarmigan Ridge Trail in Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Washington

Fireweed and Mt. Baker from the Ptarmigan Ridge Trail

In the wilderness, we see God’s great extravagance.

 

I can walk up into the mountains and see the snowcapped peaks that most eyes will never see.  That doesn’t make them any less beautiful; they are as beautiful or even more beautiful than the peaks beside the highway that thousands of people see every day on their commute.

Snowmass Mountain, one of the few 14ers in Colorado not visible from a paved road.  This was taken from Buckskin Pass, Maroon-Snowmass Wilderness, Colorado

Snowmass Mountain, one of the few 14ers in Colorado not visible from a paved road. This was taken from Buckskin Pass.

I know that on the mountain slopes are meadows of flowers, and blossoms hidden among the rocks and moss, places no one will ever go and no one will ever appreciate the beauty hidden there.

Wildflowers along the California Coast at Manchester State Park

Wildflowers along the California Coast at Manchester State Park

God made them all to exist for His own joy, but also simply because He is an extravagant God.

A spring day in Pioneer Park, Utah

A spring day in Pioneer Park, Utah

In the desert, I’ve seen flowers in the early morning that would shrivel in the day’s extreme heat and be completely dead by evening.  I’ve found hidden buttes and rock formations and canyons with extreme beauty that only a few – or no – people each year will enjoy.

Still, God created them and willed for them to exist, because He is an extravagant God.

Tide pools at the Punchbowl, Oregon

Tide pools at the Punchbowl, Oregon

Along the coastline, there are tide pools with uniquely formed creatures that can only be seen during low tide.  Other things in the tide pools, even very beautiful and interesting creatures and things, are there one tide and gone the next, hidden again in the depths of the ocean.

Exploring rarely seen tide pools at Strawberry Point, Olympic National Park, Washington

Exploring rarely seen tide pools at Strawberry Point, Washington

Still, whether they stay or are taken back out into the ocean, they point to the extravagance of God.

Views of the cliffs near Glass Beach, California

Views of the cliffs near Glass Beach, California

God doesn’t have to make things that no one will ever appreciate and enjoy; things that no one will ever give Him glory for.  In some ways, it can seem rather wasteful that there are pockets of beauty, unique formations and creatures, that no one except God knows about or sees.  In our minds, we might think it a bit useless; after all, if God creates something on earth, it must be because He wants to receive thanks and glory for it.

Chain Lakes Trail in the Mt. Baker Wilderness of Washington

Chain Lakes Trail, Washington

When we think that way, we put God (and ourselves) in a constraining box of cause and effect: I’ll only do this for you if you’ll do this for me.  It becomes tit-for-tat, what you do or do not deserve, the very opposite of love.

Yucca along the Ed Riggs Trail in Chiricahua National Monument, Arizona

Yucca along the Ed Riggs Trail in Chiricahua National Monument, Arizona

But God is extravagant.  He “gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and unjust alike” (Matthew 5:45, NLT).  He creates for us to enjoy and give glory, but He also creates whether anyone enjoys His creation or passes it by.

Wildflowers in a sea of white sand, New Mexico

Wildflowers in a sea of white sand, New Mexico

That’s God’s extravagance: displaying His love and His creativity for all or no one to see.  Whether anyone sees or not does not diminish His creativity or His love.

Huckleberry Bushes in flame along the Timberline Trail near the Vista Ridge Trail, Oregon

Huckleberry Bushes in flame along the Timberline Trail near the Vista Ridge Trail, Oregon

If God is this extravagant with the wilderness, how much more will He be extravagant with us, who He created in His image (Genesis 1:27)?  Unlike creation, which came out of God’s mind and heart, we are made in the exact representation of God.  How much more will He not only provide for us but provide above and beyond in His extravagance and creativity and love!

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