“The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad, the desert shall rejoice and blossom; like the crocus it shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They shall see the glory of the Lord, the majesty of our God.”
In August and September 2020, the CZU Lightning Complex Fire ravaged parts of Santa Cruz and San Mateo counties. 86,509 acres were burned, and I had several friends who had to evacuate in case the fire reached their towns. Among the places burned during the month-long fire were Camp Hammer, Skylark Ranch, and the edges of the University of California—Santa Cruz.
Why are these places important? Well, they are places from my childhood that were instrumental in seeing God in nature. Camp Hammer was the first camp I ever attended at 10 years old, and it was where I first learned who Jesus really was. Skylark Ranch was the Girl Scout camp I attended for a few years, where I started my counselor training, and I worked there during the summer after I graduated from high school. It was where I learned to feel at home among the redwoods. UC Santa Cruz was the first place where I fully lived out my faith, where I learned a lot about the Bible through Intervarsity and my college church, and where I was baptized. The campus is in the middle of a redwood forest, and the view of Monterey Bay from campus is breathtaking. Being among the trees was calming to me and reminded me that there was something bigger than myself.
Isaiah speaks of “see[ing] the glory of the Lord, the majesty of our God” in the wilderness and desert blooming. Just as I feel that I am in God’s presence when I am in a redwood forest, others find themselves in awe at the beach, in the mountains, or even in the desert. What an amazing Creator we have!
Gracious God, thank you for giving each of us reminders of Your power and majesty in Creation. Amen.