It was only fitting that I happened to read these words, written by 17th century Scottish pastor Samuel Rutherford, while sitting on this picture-perfect bench:
“Put the beauty of ten thousand worlds of paradises, like the Garden of Eden, in one; put all trees, all flowers, all smells, all colors, all tastes, all joys, all loveliness, all sweetness in one. O what a fair and excellent thing would that be? And yet it would be less to that fair and dearest well-beloved Christ than one drop of rain to the whole seas, rivers, lakes, and fountains of ten thousand earths.”
In the midst of the postcard scene we were sitting in, Rutherford’s insight was a gracious wake up call. The creation that lay directly in front of me was, without question, profoundly beautiful. There was no denying this. And yet, in that moment I was reminded that creation—all of it, in all of its beauty and majesty—is but a pointer to the one who is Himself ultimately beautiful and glorious. Indeed, the whole reason creation is so beautiful and capable of inducing childlike wonder in us is because it flows from the character of its beautiful Creator.
Sadly, I am often so distracted that I forget this. Instead of allowing the wonder-inducing beauty of creation to produce in me a heart of God-glorifying gladness and praise, I stop short, allowing created beauty to eclipse God’s beauty, as though it were something to be desired in-and-of itself. When that happens, I desperately need to be reminded that creation is not what my heart is ultimately after. Rather, creation is the megaphone that shouts God’s glory, leading my affections upward to Him. Psalm 19 tells us this very thing:
“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.”
Created beauty trumpets God’s infinite beauty, majesty, and greatness, directing our gaze upward to Him, calling us to marvel in His infinite glory and beauty. In that sense, the beauty around us is simply a pointer. And if the pointer is as majestic and beautiful as the Grand Canyon, Yosemite Valley, and Lake Annecy, how much more beautiful must Christ surely be? For now we see in a mirror dimly, but one day, we will behold Him face to face.
Until that day, may we continue to marvel at creation, enjoying and savoring the beauty around us, knowing that it’s the slightest foretaste of the grace to come.