I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. Ezekiel 36:26
To appreciate the glory of God’s creation I can think of no better place to be than the Grand Canyon. Hiking around the rim reveals a different picture at every turn – different shapes, different colors, even differences in the same spots as the light and shadows change throughout the day.
But during my first visit to the South Rim with my sister Susie I was surprised to find I was no less in awe of something else – the crowds of people. Tourists were everywhere, in every conceivable size, shape, color, nationality, age, and language. It seemed the whole of humanity was represented at this one spot.
A tall, blonde woman with a heavy Scandinavian accent asked me for help in reading one of the signs, and when I pronounced the word for her and explained its meaning, she slowly repeated the word, thanked me, and went back to gazing at the canyon.
An elderly Japanese couple, who spoke virtually no English but could smile like nobody’s business, tugged at Susie’s sleeve, gestured towards her eighty-something friend Bill, and held out their camera, wanting her to take their picture with him. They got on either side of Bill, hugging him as though they were lifelong friends and giggling with delight as my sister snapped the picture. (Bill was smiling, too, though he seemed a little confused.)
A French boy was posing for a picture with his sister, both of them smiling at their parents and squinting in the sunshine. An African family was speaking a beautiful language I couldn’t identify. Some German men were laughing heartily at a joke no one else understood, while a patient mother searched her bag for a snack for her crying toddler. An elderly couple I’m guessing had been together for decades, walked slowly, hand in hand and saying nothing, because apparently nothing needed to be said. By the end of the day I was feeling waves of an emotion I couldn’t quite define, but whatever it was, I felt it would cause my heart to explode.
Then it hit me. I had been praying that the Lord would give me a heart like His, that I would see people the way He sees them. And that beautiful day, at the United Nations of tourists, He was answering that prayer. – I was in love with every one of these people!
I think maybe a part of the feeling of wonder was also that I was getting a glimpse of what could be. Seeing the magnificence of creation, we all seemed to share the same awe. No one had come with an agenda, no one was coercing anyone else, no one was arguing politics, no one was declaring war. As for opinions, we were all in agreement. (How often does that happen?) In spite of the multitude of backgrounds and personalities, we were all simply admiring one of God’s most breathtaking masterpieces – even those who wouldn’t necessarily call it that.
Someday there will be “a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people, and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb.” (Revelation 7:9) On that day our attention will be not on the splendor of creation, but on the majesty of our Creator. What’s more, His loving gaze will be on us, His Bride, whom He has loved with an everlasting love.
Prayer: Lord, give us eyes to see the world as You see it – the world You loved enough to die for. Help us to see all individuals as created in Your image, and to treat them accordingly, in Jesus’ name. Amen