When we visit the Grand Canyon we approach it with some degree of reverence and look cautiously into it’s depths. We are impressed with the beauty, majesty, size and age. We realize we are engaging only a small part of the canyon with only a small part of ourselves. After a short visit we walk away, get in our car and move on.
But that is not experiencing the Grand Canyon. We don’t go to the bottom and allow ourselves to be surrounded by it. We don’t permit all our senses to become attuned to its sounds, colors, scent and sights. We don’t explore the side canyons and hidden pockets of splendor. We don’t sit still in the deepest recesses and view the animals and wild flowers. We don’t return throughout the year to view the seasonal changes.
If we really wanted to know the Canyon intimately we would read books about it and hire a guide for each visit. We would physically discipline ourselves to become strong enough to hike from one end to the other. We would stay there for days at a time.
But we don’t. And as a result of our look-over-the-edge-and-move-on visits we know it about like we know God.
We hurry into and out of God’s presence, perhaps impressed with a limited sense of his wisdom, majesty, beauty, size and power. We commit a small part of ourselves to peer cautiously into his Word, all the time knowing there is more. We stop short of a full sensory encounter then walk away content or even feel a little proud of our efforts.
We do not take the time and make the effort to experience God. We do not immerse ourselves and surround ourselves with Him. We refuse to explore the lesser-known facets of his personality. We do not develop the stamina and self-discipline necessary to know his heart. Expecting immediate answers and solutions, we visit Him and then move on before some of his most beautiful, valuable truths can be received. We do not allow the Holy Spirit to be our guide. We may feel his presence for a few minutes but we don’t become intimate with him. We approach God with a tourist mentality.
How can we correct this? We must make forming an intimate relationship with him the number-one priority of our lives. This will require a commitment of our time. Such relationships can not be rushed. We must establish regular times of prayer and Bible study, disciplining ourselves to concentrate of spiritual matters. The joys of experiencing God are available only to those who long for more than a quick, easy, occasional visit.