When my husband and I took a vacation last month, I didn’t expect to be finding God in the giant redwoods (also known as giant sequoias) of California. A stop by the Redwood National Park headquarters gave us plenty of facts: trees that live to be 2000 years old and grow more than 360 feet tall. Some of the giants tower five stories higher than the Statue of Liberty. Along the coast are three redwoods that visitors can drive their car through. All this information did nothing to prepare me for the sensation of standing next to the world’s tallest trees.
Stepping into the hushed, mist-filled forest, I gazed upward until I almost toppled over backward. Next to the sheer height and girth of these trees, I must have looked like an overgrown bug. And what was my life span compared with their two thousand years? I felt awed—and insignificant. Centuries ago, Israel’s poet-king expressed a similar feeling as he contemplated the splendors of nature.
“When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers— the moon and the stars you set in place—,” David wrote, “what are people that you should think about them, mere mortals that you should care for them? (Psalm 8:3-4 NLT)
When we contemplate the vastness of space or the beauty and magnificence found in nature, we can start to feel insignificant. That sense of smallness vanishes when we remember what a special place we have in God’s Creation. God didn’t just create us; he also came to earth to die for our sins so that we can be forgiven and live a life of purpose and significance. To think that God would even be interested in us is amazing enough, but his concern took him all the way to the Cross. Taking a trip to the Redwood National Park can renew that sense of wonder and awe; while there, you just might be finding God in the giant redwoods.
Enjoy this video about the giant redwoods from National Geographic: