Christ In The Canyon: The Canyon

Christ is everywhere. We can see Him in all things, if only we will look. We all know that the Grand Canyon is the largest canyon in the United States. It’s little brother, Palo Duro Canyon, is right in my “backyard.” My wife and I have been visiting it quite often recently, and as I’ve looked around I see Christ everywhere. This series will be my attempt to illuminate Christ throughout the canyon for you.

To see Christ in the canyon we must appropriately begin with seeing Christ as the canyon. If you’ve ever stood beside the ledge of The Grand Canyon or Palo Duro Canyon you understand the vastness of creation before you, and your insignificance in comparison to it.

I’ve stood beside both, and I can tell you there is nothing that will make you feel tiny like the immensity of these canyons. No picture can ever do either canyon justice for perspective or beauty, just as no descriptive words could do justice to our Lord, but alas we attempt it anyway.

 

The Immensity

When we try to imagine the immensity of Christ: His infinitude, His eternality, His omniscience, His omnipotence, or his omnipresence our minds will become fatigued before we can even begin to attempt to grasp how immense God is.

As you walk the trails of the canyon, and look up at the towering walls you feel your own insignificance compared to immeasurable immensity. Christ is the canyon. He is infinite and we are finite.

As you stand at the bottom of the canyon, walls of rock and sand soaring high above and all around, you begin to feel as though you are swallowed up in the canyon itself. When we come to Christ with reckless abandon we too will be swallowed up by the immensity of his love, grace, and overwhelming presence.

Just listen to how David describes the immensity of God’s presence in Psalm 139:

O LORD, You have searched me and known me.

You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
You understand my thought from afar.

You scrutinize my path and my lying down,
And are intimately acquainted with all my ways.

Even before there is a word on my tongue,
Behold, O LORD, You know it all.

You have enclosed me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me.

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is too high, I cannot attain to it.

Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?

If I ascend to heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there.

If I take the wings of the dawn,
If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,

Even there Your hand will lead me,
And Your right hand will lay hold of me.

If I say, “Surely the darkness will overwhelm me,
And the light around me will be night,”

Even the darkness is not dark to You,
And the night is as bright as the day.
Darkness and light are alike to You.

For You formed my inward parts;
You wove me in my mother’s womb.

I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.

My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;

Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
And in Your book were all written
The days that were ordained for me,
When as yet there was not one of them.

How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!

If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand.
When I awake, I am still with You.

O that You would slay the wicked, O God;
Depart from me, therefore, men of bloodshed.

For they speak against You wickedly,
And Your enemies take Your name in vain.

Do I not hate those who hate You, O LORD?
And do I not loathe those who rise up against You?

I hate them with the utmost hatred;
They have become my enemies.

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me and know my anxious thoughts;

And see if there be any hurtful way in me,
And lead me in the everlasting way.

 

We can walk in the infinitude of Christ, just as we can walk in seemingly unending canyons. We could walk the trails, climb the walls, and explore the canyon for days and weeks, and even years on end, but we will never grasp the totality of it. The same is with our Lord.

For almost twenty years I have explored the depths of his love, the caverns of his wisdom, the brilliance of his light, the reach of his grace, eaten of the fruit of his tree, and tested the strength of his rock solid foundation. I have yet to even scratch the surface of the immensity of my Lord.

 

The Ever-Changing Canyon

Every year rains fall, fires consume, new plants grow, the wind erodes away at the canyon, and wildlife is born and dies. The canyon is ever changing. Every time I step into the canyon it is not the same canyon I stepped in to previously. Heraclitus said,

No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.

Every time I return to the canyon I am a different man. I have learned something new, lost something, gained something, grown a little older. Every time I step into the canyon it is different as well. New trails are formed, new life has sprung up, water has eroded, new aspects are revealed.

So too it is with Christ. Every time we come to Christ is an exploration of his infinitude. He has continued to grow as I have attempted to chart the immensity of his Character and life. The more I think I know about Christ, the more I realize I do not know. No matter how much I explore and experience my Lord, there is always more to be had, just like a canyon.

 

Canyons are beautiful and amazing whether you are standing in Texas, Arizona, or Tibet. The next time you stand beside one or walk through its many winding trails consider Christ. See him as the canyon itself.

 

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