“He must become greater; I must become less.” (John 3:30)
When I was a kid, growing up in Colorado, I was blessed to be influenced by a pastor, Doug Self, who loved Jesus and loved the outdoors. We spent time backpacking and hunting and without even knowing it I was being discipled along the way. Recently Doug passed on a teachable moment from one of his recent wilderness excursions that offers some profound insight on how wilderness is the great leveler… it reminds us that in our hearts, as John the Baptist proclaimed, “He must become greater; I must become less.” (John 3:30)
HUMAN SCALE VERSUS CREATION’S MAGNITUDE
I’m just off a 6 month leave of absence, lots of camping, a trip to Europe, etc. It was wonderful. Here’s a picture I thought you might enjoy for its “perspective.” I was on the north rim of the black canyon of the Gunnison River when I took it. This is where I first realized the overwhelming factor of the outdoors is the SCALE! Everything where we live, cities, etc, is human scale…3 ft. wide doors, steps to accommodate human foot traffic, 8 ft. ceilings. All of this human engineering gives me the idea that I’m in charge of this human scale world and my human scale problems then become giant.
However, in nature we cannot deny the scale of God’s creation scale. I’m frightfully small, when I relate to creation rightly. According to my loving Heavenly Father, my troubles are minuscule and I feel a proper awe in how he He towers over me and my problems. There’s a comfort in my insignificance in light of the enormous size of the creation. I think that’s why we hear so much from people, even non-christians, “I feel closest to God in the outdoors.”
EXPERIENCE THIS FOR YOURSELF
- Spend some time meditating on something that is stressing you out or overwhelming your thoughts. Pray out loud what John the Baptist said, “He must become greater; I must become less.” (John 3:30).
- Then take a few hours and go find a place near your city where you can experience the awesome scale of God’s creation. Prayerfully consider what Doug experienced when he realized the scale of Creation was reminding him of how God towers over us and our problems. Now share with someone what you experienced with God in the midst of your wilderness retreat…
- Share your story and comment below!
Doug Self, pastor of The Orchard in Carbondale, Colorado. Married to Rebecca, three kids in their thirties, all married and one grand-daughter, with a grand son on the way! Grew up in New Mexico with an outdoorsy family, hunting and fishing. Have loved Colorado’s outdoor sports, fly fishing, skiing, down hill and cross-country, backpacking, camping, hiking and climbing. He’s climbed all 54 of Colorado’s peaks over 14,000 ft. You can reach him on Facebook.