Millions of people head to the great outdoors to get as Elmer Fudd put it “west and welaxation.” Yet coming home from the wilderness back to the daily grind, they find themselves disappointed and unfulfilled. What is it that draws us to nature and the unspoiled wilderness, that makes us want to leave the comforts of home to sleep under a sheet of plastic or a tiny trailer?
I believe it’s a built-in desire to see God’s Creation. In the city we’re surrounded with the works of man: Creation has been chopped down, dammed up, filled in and paved over. Whatever sky and stars are left are blotted out with smog and artificial light. Yet when we venture into the wilderness, we see the works of God and realize the incredible creativity, beauty and design of nature. The works of God are far superior to the works of man, as evidenced by organ transplants. Man could never design something as beautiful or complex as an alpine meadow or desert vista. Obviously someone designed and put these things here, as nothing but chaos ever happens by itself (just ask any project manager).
But as Creation testifies to us the existence of God, it doesn’t tell us of His love. Indeed, sometimes you may think Creation is trying to kill you, such as during blizzards or mosquito attacks. But the God who was powerful enough to create the universe made sure that a testimony of His love for us would be recorded and preserved.
So what is God’s love for us? Why do we seek Him? God obviously wants us to seek Him, as we are designed with a God-shaped “hole” inside that can only be filled and satisfied by Him. Now many people may try to stuff all kinds of things into that hole trying to fill the emptiness. They may try money or power or sex or drugs or their family or any other diversion, some good and some bad, that never satisfies the emptiness. What keeps us and God separated, that we cannot have a relationship?
What separates us from God is sin, which is “missing the mark.” God is a holy God and can’t stand sin. What kind of a God would He be if He put up with it in His Kingdom? But we can’t help from sinning: it’s in our very heart and nature. God says that the penalty of sin is death: whoever sins (even once) is a sinner and death is the sentence given.
But just as God is a holy and righteous God, He is also a compassionate and loving God. Not wanting to be separated from us, He stepped in and paid the penalty imposed, death. Now if God had paid money, what would that have proved? God owns everything on earth and trillions of other planets as well. If God the Father had come and died, that still wasn’t a total sacrifice. No, instead God sent the One most precious to Him, His own beloved Son, to die for a people who for the most part, hate and shun Him. God sent His Son Jesus to be born into a primitive human civilization to walk and eat and live with us, to experience firsthand the sufferings and temptations that we face. Jesus willingly gave up His life for us and took our sin upon Himself, so that by believing in Him we can have that fellowship with God that God desires and designed us for.
This is the “true rest” that satisfies beyond the weekend, that gives hope when things seem hopeless. My prayer for you is that you come into this rest and see that “the Lord, He is good.”
“God loved the people of this world so much that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who has faith in Him will have eternal life and not really die”- John 3:16