We had the blessing a week ago of going with our entire family (12 of us) to both Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks and of doing some hiking in the area. None of us had ever been there before so we thought it would be the perfect place to celebrate our 50th anniversary with our family. We all flew to Las Vegas, rented a couple vans and drove to the Parks, staying at a ranch house between the two. The beauty we saw was beyond our imagination. We were constantly having “wow moments,” and it was made even more special to be able to share the experience with our loved ones. If you have never been to Zion and Bryce we highly recommend you put that trip on your “bucket list.” You won’t be disappointed. (Note: November is a good time to visit. The crowds are much smaller than in the summer and the temperatures are ideal for hiking.)
As I viewed the amazing features of the red, yellow, and sometimes white sandstone and limestone mountains and pillars (often resembling a palace—especially in Bryce Canyon), I got to thinking about how it was all formed, which I am confident did not take millions of years as evolutionists theorize in trying to explain the areas in Utah, Nevada, Arizona and Colorado. Most likely, as the waters of Noah’s flood receded and as God raised up the mountains and lowered the ocean valleys to accommodate all the water (see Psa. 104:6-9), it left some very large inland lakes, a portion of which remain to this day. The area of the Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce Canyon, and other similar areas probably contained a couple huge lakes with drainage from rain and the supersaturated ground surrounding them continuing to fill the lakes, which finally breached and rushed out to the ocean, the sediment mostly ending up in southern California. The tremendous pressure of the newly formed Rocky Mountains would have liquified the rock underneath, creating up-thrusts throughout the surrounding areas and causing the amazing configurations of towers with their swirling rock structures that we viewed. Since the Flood of Noah was less than 5,000 years ago, what we viewed was not millions, but a few thousand years old.
I say all that to come to the observation that I made: All the amazing beauty we saw was actually the result of God’s judgment on the earth because of sin. Way back in Genesis 6:5 we read: “Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” As a result, God sent the judgment of the flood upon the earth “so that all the high mountains everywhere under the heavens were covered” (Gen. 7:19) and only Noah and his family and the animals on the ark were spared (Gen. 7:1-5; 8:1).
One of the byproducts of the judgment of the flood is the awe-inspiring beauty of the Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce Canyon and the other similar terrain in the area. Wow, if this kind of beauty comes as a result of God’s judgment, imagine what the initial creation must have been like and what heaven will be like! Also, think of what beauty can come out of our lives when we allow God to take over and remove the impurities caused by sin and the desires of the old nature. Job, who definitely went through the fiery furnace of trials, said: “But He knows the way I take; when He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold” (Job 23:10). Gold, as normally found in nature, is mixed with ores and impurities that if allowed to remain, greatly cheapen its worth. Subjected to temperatures of several thousand degrees, however, the impurities and undesirable contaminants are burned up, leaving behind the pure tested product. Without the heat we could never have pure gold. Peter, in his first epistle, talks a lot about the purpose of suffering and trials in the life of the believer. He writes: “..though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ”’ (I Pet. 1:6,7). The Psalmist wrote: “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep Thy word…It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I may learn Thy statures” (Psa. 119:67,71). The writer of Hebrews said: “He disciplines us for our good, that we may share His holiness…All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness” (Heb. 12:10b,11).
If you have trusted Christ as your Savior, you will not be judged for your sins (because Christ was judged on your behalf… II Cor. 5:21; Ro. 8:1), but God will discipline (train) you, removing those things from your life that keep Christ from being seen in you. The process will not be enjoyable, but the product will be one of beauty which reflects the glory of God. “For momentary, light affliction is producing for us and eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison” (II Cor. 4:17). God is at work making something beautiful out of our lives. What is He working on in you? Are you cooperating?
Forever His, A work in Progress,