Some of the most breathtaking beauty, in my estimation, is found in the Rocky Mountain region of the western United States. People sing the praises of their home country, so I will sing mine of Colorado, of those fourteen thousand foot cathedrals, of the snow-capped heights that reach heaven’s doorstep, of the views that reveal the majesty of God. Rivers raging through canyons wide, deep enough to find the ocean’s tide.
I’ve missed it more lately as I think of my friend Davin, who was also from the west, and a true outdoorsman. There is nothing quite like being out in nature, taking in the handiwork of God, and treading in awe with every step inside His masterpiece painting.
But as ravishingly beautiful as that scenery is, Jeremiah Burroughs reminded me of something else even more wonderful. Speaking on the Christian’s contentment in the face of trial, he wrote
The glory of God appears here more than in any of his works. There is no work which God has made—the sun, moon, stars and all the world—in which so much of the glory of God appears as in a man who lives quietly in the midst of adversity.
So when a Christian can walk in the midst of fiery trials, without his garments being singed, and has comfort and joy in the midst of everything (when like Paul in the stocks he can sing, which wrought upon the jailor) it will convince men, when they see the power of grace in the midst of afflictions. When they can behave themselves in a gracious and holy manner in such afflictions as would make others roar: Oh, this is the glory of a Christian (The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment, 122-23).
Could it be that, unbeknownst to him, Davin’s contentment and joy in cancer and trial stands before us all as a view more filled with the glory of God than a thousand mountain ranges? Could it be that there is a greater display of God’s magnificence in Davin’s faithful submission to God’s divine plan than in all the wilderness that he so loved? Perhaps he never realized that his story would better tell of God’s glory than the most awesome view imaginable in all creation.
Roughly five million people go to the Grand Canyon every year to gaze upon its beauty. Painters paint it, tourists stand in wonder of it, and astronauts laud it even from the heavens. But it pales in comparison to God’s grace in Davin’s story as he held on to his joy in Christ in the jaws of death. So I linger before his life like a awe-inspired surveyor, not ready to miss what God has wrought with the brush strokes of a man’s life.