Mountains and Mysteries

“For what is known about God is plain, because God has made it plain.
For since the creation of the world, God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made.

Romans 1:19-20

I have just come “back down” again, after another glorious trip into the mountains. Each trip, I find I am drawn deeper and higher into what I can hardly find the words to describe. The words “beauty”, or “majesty”, and even “glory”, hardly seem enough. Each year I want to grasp for more. I want to breath more deeply the cold, pure air that fills me with much needed clarity. I am drawn by the intensity of the blue sky, an inverted ocean depth into which I cannot dive, but can climb higher and higher. Each time, I let the sun hold me a little stiller, while it impresses upon me its warm gold sheets– making my face glow. I am completely enthralled. The sheer enormity, and scale, and beauty are enough to overwhelm. They do. They are more than enough. And then I want more. It is like stepping into a mystery, something known, something unfolding, and yet more to know.

The only way I can discern my experience is to think of them as Paul has described above. God is making himself known through his creation. I marvel at an invisible God who wants to be known by us, so he made something so beautiful, so breathtaking, that we would ache to be in it, with it, surrounded by it. A place where we are fully alive. The scenario is perfect. This is exactly how He would have us know him. This is his first impression He makes, making himself known in his natural creation. Wow! It is profoundly alluring. But it is only a place to begin, as I am finding out.

The prophet Job describes the power and magnificence of God’s creation, canvassing the vastness of the celestial skies, the pillars of the earth that quake, and the power of the seas. Yet Job says, “these are but the outer fringe of his works; how faint the whisper we hear of him.” Job 26: 14. All the beauty of the earth and the visual handholds to which we cling, just to know something of God, these things that captivate and take our breath away, they are only a whisper, just the outer fringe of God’s greatness, just a hint of who He really is. A mystery. Something known and still something more to know.

The Apostle Paul spoke of this mystery. He sometimes called it the “secret” or “deep” things of God. (1 Cor 2:7,10). I like that! Since the beginning of time, mankind has sought these depths, like they do of the ocean and the skies. We have stretched our minds and explored the heights to know more of the Great Mystery that is bigger and deeper than the limits or our own imaginations. We struggle to hold something in our hands, or in our minds, or in our memories that we can’t quite reach or understand. What is it that keeps drawing us to the beauty, but is so uncontainable that we can never hold it? Does anyone want to know these secrets anymore, or is it just me?

Paul tells us, and can hardly contain himself in doing so, that the mystery has been made known. You already know the answer. You have what you have been reaching for. The God, who has been pouring himself out into creation all this time so that we would catch glimpses of him, and feel him, and participate in him, has made the Great Mystery of the ages known. To those who earnestly seek Him, and to know his ways,

God has chosen to make known the glorious riches of this mystery, 
which is Christ in you, the hope of glory…
in him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
(Colossians 1:26-2:3)

Christ in us; the mystery that has been revealed, yet is still unfolding with more to know. I am thinking of my unbounded appetite for God’s beauty in his natural creation. Scriptures tell me that the greater marvel of exceeding beauty and glory is the Spirit of God alive in you and me, also part of his creation. Do I see it as I should, or is it just a faint whisper, like the wind in a distant forest? What if all that majesty and power that inspire us on the mountaintops were manifest in us? What difference would it make, as I come down, and why do I long for more? Maybe the more is not up there. Maybe it is here – in you, and me, and those all around us. What if the more I seek is in your face, God’s beautiful creation?

I love a God who takes me to a faraway, alpine trail, high above the trees, in the gleaming morning sun to tell me a secret that has always been right in front of me. The mystery of life together is unfolding, some things known, more to know together. But God is making it plain to us. My prayer is that we would spend more time discovering the depth and riches of God manifest in each other. Could that be the secret?

“On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.” Genesis 22:14


“In accordance with the riches of God’s grace,
that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding…
he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure,
which he purposed in Christ,
to put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment –
to bring all things in heaven and on earth together
under one head, even Christ.”

Ephesians 1:8-10


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