Last week, my wife and I spent 5 days in upstate Pennsylvania visiting various state parks. We began hiking state parks and forests together during the beginning of the pandemic two years ago. Back then, there weren’t many things open and since we love walking and nature, we figured it was a safe and fun activity to do. Well, it quickly became “our thing.” I basically chronicle our trips now through Facebook. It’s quite a blessing to read the comments people post as if they are on the journey with us. Currently, we have visited 69 parks in NJ, PA, DE, and MD. You would be surprised how many there are in just those 4 states alone! It will certainly take awhile to see them all. We try not to repeat and plan on visiting more states as time goes on.
The main state park we wanted to see on our trip last week was Ricketts Glen in Benton, PA. Some of my friends told me about it and the reviews of it online were really high. We tried this same trip over my Christmas break from school, but the main trails were closed due to extremely icy conditions. I was hoping the weather in April would be much better and it was, although there were still a few icy spots. Every park we have gone to is beautiful, but Ricketts Glen is definitely #1 so far! There are 22 waterfalls within the Falls Trail System and they are simply amazing. Anyone that’s visited there will tell you.
We were absolutely stunned at God’s beautiful creation all around us. We even said to each other many times during our trip, “How can anyone say there is no God when they see all of this beauty?!” How many times have you said that when viewing nature? The truth is we are surrounded by His beauty everywhere. There is such an indescribable closeness I feel towards Jesus when we are hiking through His creation. Consider the words of King David:
Psalm 143:5-6 NIV
I remember the days of long ago; I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done. I spread out my hands to you; I thirst for you like a parched land.
King David here is broken and cries out to be back in a good relationship with God. He deeply desired God and when he pondered on all of God’s works and creation, he couldn’t help throwing up his hands to Him. Amen! Ever been there?
Psalm 19:1 NIV
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Creation is sometimes personified as a witness to God’s work among us. His creation is evidence of His glory!
Sadly, there are many times during our walk with Christ that we miss this. Life happens and we tend to get caught up in the distractions. Let me encourage you (and myself) to pause every once in a while and soak in the magnitude of God’s creation and glory all around us. It will help us all see how vast and magnificent our God really is. And the same God who created the heavens and the earth longs to have a personal relationship with us. So much so, that He sacrificed His Son Jesus Christ on that cross to redeem us. Now that’s unrivaled beauty!