by Gena Buskirk-Ford, Gateway PhotoArtistry™ photographer and writer, July 15, 2012
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After spending about an hour marveling at Margerie Glacier in Glacier Bay, Alaska, the captain gradually pulled the large cruise ship away from the massive glacier. The mid-morning sunlight was just perfect for photographing the immense glacier, but I had to quickly grab my wide-angle lens to be able to fit the glacier with all of its detail into one frame without having any image distortion. The width of Margerie Glacier where it meets the ocean in Glacier Bay is approximately one mile. To even get an inkling of the vastness of this glacier, you have to see the whole glacier in one image, and the larger the print the better. What you see is exactly the picture I took -- no PhotoShop work here. God just made my job real easy that morning
When I wrote the poem, “Humbled by Creation,” I was thinking of someone I know who had left her Christian faith because she felt God couldn’t have loved her and allowed tragedy to enter her life. I believe God’s creation -- forests, oceans, mountains, animals and the like -- are “bonuses” for being His children, whether you believe in the One, True God or not. Besides its practical attributes, I believe He gave us creation to delight in it and if we look closely, we’ll see elements of His character in it and be drawn to Him. He desires us to have tranquility, to see His vastness, to bathe in His colors. He never intended pain, hurt or anger. That came when Adam sinned. How can I question my God who has given me eternal salvation and so much more? I believe God doesn’t need creation to reconcile His people to Him, just His Son, Jesus. The rest is all for us to indulge in and to be awestricken by who He is and what an amazing imagination He has. God made His creation for His children to enjoy, because He loves giving gifts to His children.
The hard part is understanding that a God who loves us so deeply and so emphatically would ever allow pain or hurt to touch our lives. I will not pretend to do the argument justice, nor do I want to belittle the spiritual challenge. I will not and don't pretend to try to understand all of God's ways. If I did, I wouldn't need God.
I can speak from my experiences, and some reasons that God has given me for tragic circumstances gravitate around the simple fact that every action has a consequence. Acts of love have consequences just like acts of sin, and the nature of sin itself breeds drastic results without any assistance from us. Just by sin entering the world, we are faced with illness, heartbreaking situations and death. None of these were God's intention. God wants intimate relationships with us, not "puppets on strings," so He allows us to make choices. Sometimes we hurt ourselves with our own choices and sometimes others hurt us because of their choices.
At times, we blame God for poor choices we've made even when He's warned us against making them. In our own arrogance or ignorance, we ignored His "stop" signs. As I have told many girls that I've discipled over the years, if God explained Himself to us, (which God doesn't have to explain Himself to anyone), for all the reasons why we should or shouldn't do something, we would need a wheelbarrow to lug around our Bibles. He just asks that we trust Him, and we can avoid a lot of the hurt and pain sin has caused.
As for those circumstances or events in our lives where we have no control, or we are caught in someone else's whirlwind of destructive behavior, it is much harder to imagine why God wouldn't step in and put a stop to it all. When I asked God point-blank recently why He didn't intervene in my life during a time when someone tore down my self-esteem and left me feeling unworthy and unwanted, He answered in one simple sentence. He said, "I couldn't and still love you." God meant because He loves me and the one who was hurting me just the same. He couldn't stop the pain that person was inflicting on me without taking control of everyone and making them do what He wanted them to do. God would then become an angry dictator, not a loving Father and Savior. I sensed sadness and restraint in His voice that I interpreted as His resignation to allow us to have our way, even when it pains Him to watch us be hurt.
What He DOES promise is He will not allow anything to happen to us that He can't help us endure, overcome and heal. Though I became a believer when I was about five or six, I felt there were several years in my youth when I felt like God had abandoned me. I knew He said in His Bible that He would never leave me, but what I knew in my head I didn't believe in my heart. When I allowed myself to be more vulnerable to Him, God patiently, methodically and strategically revealed to me all the times He was protecting me during those years. It was then that I knew in my heart He was there all along - beside me, upholding me, sustaining me, protecting me. What did not break me, made me stronger, but only with God's healing was I made strong and whole again.
When I see the overwhelming magnitude of the mountains, the delicate strength in a bird's wings, and the colorful fortitude in the glaciers, I see the evidence of God's character. Creation is God's fingerprint. It reminds us that what He has in store for us is so much better than what we could ever plan for ourselves if we would just trust Him. It ensures us that nothing in this world happens without His approval. It encourages us that healing comes in time and with His help.
If the creation we see on earth was "good" in His sight as He said in Genesis when the world began, can you imagine how much better His creation in heaven is after Revelation when there are no more tears, no more pain and no more death? I am humbled to know the God who created all the earth for me to enjoy loves me more than anything else He's created, and can't wait to talk to me every morning.
Humbled by Creation
"God-Story #2 - Questioning God's Love When Tragedy Strikes: Humbled by Creation," © Copyright 2012 Gena Buskirk-Ford, owner/writer/photographer, Gateway PhotoArtistry™, http://www.gatewayphotoartistry.com.*