In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth…”

I’ve read Genesis a few times. Bless him, John had a way with words. Grand descriptions that sweep across pages. He waxes quite poetically about God’s creation of the world and its inhabitants.

This week, we spent three days at Colorado Bend State Park in the Hill Country of Texas. It’s been at the very top of my Texas bucket list since we moved back here a few years ago. At the core of who I am is a love of nature and communing with the wild, unchanged world. I can be quite active; I love running, going for walks, and hiking is my love language. But I also love to be one with nature. Sitting, absorbing it all in its untamed beauty. Truly, it hits a place in my soul few things do (like the beach). It’s in these places of natural beauty where I find God most deeply.

We hiked almost ten miles over the course of three days. We started out on a trail lined with natural pools, crystal clear and refreshingly cold. We hit up Gorman Falls, painfully walking over miles of rocks jutting out from the earth, reaching this incredible wall of moss and waterfalls. Then, on a whim (and because I asked), we left the falls and took a path to the spring canyon.

That–easily–was my favorite part of all. Shades of green and and blues that I don’t think I’ve seen before. The path was lined with multiple ponds each filled with hundreds of lily pads arching their way to the sun. Grasses and trees and plants proudly showed the most beautiful greens I’d seen with my eyes. Stones covered in moss offered their backs for us to continue on. Finally, we reached the trail end.

It was worth every step there and every step back.

And it just kept occurring to me the entire five mile hike. And the entire three days. We talk about Creation as though it’s over. God took seven days to painstakingly create the world, wiped His hands, took a nap, and moved on. But it’s just not true.

This week, I saw Him still slowly, carefully carving out canyons and rocks. Bluffs towered over me, while at their bases water swept by still wearing away the rocks. Sunsets each night painted the canyons and sky with pinks and oranges–each one new and unique. What majesty was in that state park fifty or one hundred years ago is vastly different from the beauty I experienced this week.

Because He is not done.

He could have snapped His omnipotent fingers and have completed His masterpiece in seven days. And then slept. (Because any creative out there knows–making is hard!) But what is the fun in that? He is still stitching together, carving out, building up. He’s still tweaking and changing every so minutely.

At Mass on Sunday, we read the gospel account of His passion and death. And something caught me that hadn’t before. Just as Jesus is being arrested, one of His nameless apostles strikes a soldier on the ear. Jesus says, “Do you think that I cannot call upon my Father and he will not provide me at this moment with more than twelve legions of angels? But how would the Scriptures be fulfilled…?” That’s 72,000 angels. But Christ did not call for his angels. He did not snap His fingers; He did the slow work of dying and resurrecting for our salvation. He recreated the ending for beauty and salvation.

Creation and beauty take time. Miracles and redemption take time. Most often, while He could snap His omnipotent fingers and make the redemption and beauty come quickly, that would not fulfill His holy plan. Yes, there would be so much less pain and suffering. There would be less trauma and grief. But the suddenness would not help us appreciate the beauty that grew slowly over time. We would not appreciate the work and intent that grew to fruition.

Slow, steady growth creates the canyons, the verdant fields, the lily pad freckled ponds. Intentionality and patience reaps redemption, growth, and change.

As I stood in awe of the magnificent canyon rims, the enormous river, the miles of verdant fields and ponds, I realized–I am not unlike them. God has slowly carved out of me so much pain. He has stitched together ever so carefully the broken parts. He has fertilized the beautiful pieces, allowing them to bloom. Yes, He could have snapped His omnipotent fingers and the grief and pain and suffering could be gone, but He did not. He simply took my hand and walked me through the valleys onto great bluffs.

I have spent years wondering why He didn’t save me sooner, heal me faster. I have stood in dark valleys crying out to Him, wondering where He was. And this week, as I heard those words in the Gospel…

Do you not think I could call upon my Father and he will not provide me at this moment with more than twelve legions of angels…”

I finally got it, This week I stood like a small speck at the bottom of enormous canyons and bluffs created over thousands of years. I saw water trickling down massive waterfalls and springs.

Carving. Creating. Slowly. A thing of beauty.

And I get it.

He is creating a magnificent thing of beauty.

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