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This panorama photograph of Grand Teton’s wildflowers was taken within South Fork Camping Zone one beautiful summer evening. Innumerable wildflowers of every color, shape and kind blanketed the loose, gravel soil, turning it into a paradise on earth.
Grand Teton National Park is located in northwestern USA just 10 miles (16 km) south of Yellowstone National Park. The jagged peaks of the Teton Range rise dramatically out of the Great Plains to an altitude of 13,800′ (4200m). Grand Teton’s pristinely preserved wilderness features valleys covered with Columbine and Indian Paintbrush wildflowers, raging mountain rivers and rugged, snow-covered peaks. The park is home to many different kinds of animals including grizzly bears, elk, moose and marmots. Due to its stunning beauty, Grand Teton National Park is one of America’s most popular national parks.
“Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” (John 17:3)
“Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.” (John 17:24)
I had a strong sense that the Lord led me up the South Fork in Grand Teton National Park for a specific spiritual purpose, which was unknown to me until I got there. It had been a particularly difficult journey for me that tested my faith, but God had given me the grace to get this far.
As I explored my surroundings, I discovered a gigantic scree meadow filled with every kind of alpine flower in every color of the rainbow over every last inch, and they were all in peak full bloom. Insofar as this mortal, dying earth could ever come, this was paradise!
The instant my eyes beheld this heavenly sight, I had a flash of spiritual revelation:
Through the Holy Spirit, I could perceive God’s loving heart for all mankind and his desire to be in a loving relationship with us forever.
It was as if I was gazing beyond this natural ‘garden’ and was seeing the spiritual reality beyond itself, to which this natural garden was pointing.
It was as if I was looking at the Garden of Eden and at the new earth, which God will recreate as a dwelling place for those who believe in him, so that they will be with him for ever (Revelation 21:1-5, Revelation 21-22).
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away…And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’ Then he said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.'” (Revelation 21:1, 3-5)
The Lord began his loving relationship with his people in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 1-2). He created them to be with him and to enjoy a loving relationship with him throughout eternity.
Love was his purpose in creating us, and love is still his purpose in pursuing a relationship with each one of us now.
The sad reality is that, just like Adam and Eve, we have all chosen to sin against God (Romans 3:23). Our sin alienates us from God, and God declares that the just punishment for our rebellion against God is death and hell (Romans 6:23).
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son [Jesus], that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” (John 3:16-17)
Despite our rebellion against God, he still loves us and desires to have a close, personal relationship with us. Therefore, God provided the way for us to be reconciled back to him.
God sent his Son, Jesus, to live the perfect, sinless life that none of us could live. Then, he took all of our sins upon himself and paid the punishment for them through his death on the cross. He rose from the dead three days later making reconciliation possible with God.
“God made him who had no sin [Jesus] to be sin [a sin offering] for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)
In order to be forgiven so that you can enter into a loving, personal relationship with him you must first:
1) Repent of your sins (confess and turn away from them). God assures us that he will forgive us when we confess our sins, no matter how many we have committed or how bad they are.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9)
2) Trust in Jesus and receive him as your personal Savior. Believe that he died to pay the punishment for YOUR sins through his death on the cross.
“Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God–children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” (John 1:12)
Our relationship with God begins the moment we place our trust in Jesus Christ as our Savior. Having been washed clean of our sins through our faith in Jesus’ atoning sacrifice, God declares us to be in eternal right standing with him (justification). We now have the confidence to draw near to him in thanksgiving and praise. Our relationship with God is now one of joy and peace, and we will forever draw near to him in worship. This is where God created us to be–with him. (See “Where We’re Meant to Be: Worshiping Jesus” (Praise and Worship Series)).
“Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus…let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith.” (Hebrews 10:19,22)
The Bible likens believers’ spiritual relationship with God to a bride and a groom (Ephesians 5:25-32), symbolising the love and the faithful covenant they have with each other. A relationship with God is exciting because you are always experiencing and coming to know him more (John 17:3, 1 Corinthians 13:12). His presence is better than anything this world has (Psalm 84:10) and his love is better than life (Psalm 63:3).
Song of Songs is a Biblical book that describes the love between a husband and a wife and spiritually symbolizes the relationship between God and believers. Having come to this ‘Garden’ in the Tetons and being overwhelmed by his presence the night before, I couldn’t wait to get up the next morning and go spend time with him there. These photos commemorate that beautiful morning with the Lord.
“I belong to my lover, and his desire is for me. Come, my lover, let us go to the countryside, let us spend the night in the villages. Let us go early to the vineyards to see if the vines have budded, if their blossoms have opened, and if the pomegranates are in bloom–there I will give you my love. The mandrakes send out their fragrance, and at our door is every delicacy, both new and old, that I have stored up for you, my lover.” (Song of Songs 7:13)