Beholding Wonders

by Patti Richter

Our daughter hoped to have a car at college in her sophomore year. But a 1300-mile trip from Texas to California in the August heat seemed risky. Instead, my husband and I decided she should fly back to school, and we would drive the car to her when the temperatures moderated.

This delivery plan could serve as both a vacation and a visit to our daughter. I looked forward to the long road trip since we had never travelled in that direction. Scenic vistas—more wonderful than I imagined—lay ahead.

When fall arrived, we left early one morning for our journey across the deserts of the Southwest. By evening we were halfway to California but still in Texas! The sheer expanse of our state’s mostly uninhabited western region struck me as incredible. As a child I had been afraid that the earth would run out of places to bury its dead. Seeing this vast open space reminded me, “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof” (Psalm 24:1 ESV). The emptiness thereof, too!

The next day we realized that far West Texas runs along New Mexico’s southern border, so we had entered this state at its center. The Organ Mountains greeted us that morning with their needle-like peaks that resemble organ pipes. These mountains were not so far behind us when we crossed into southern Arizona—before lunchtime! Such progress amazed me after the previous day spent trudging through just one region of Texas.

Dry desert air yielded an undiluted sky. The azure blue color stood in brilliant contrast to autumn-tinged grasses and wildflowers. But at one point, something else captured our attention. We began to see massive rocks in random positions—as if they had grown in the soil among the yucca and cacti. Mile after mile we marveled at boulders that appeared so out of place on the desert floor, and I wondered if God had tossed them over His shoulder after carving out a distant canyon.

By the time we traversed the hills that ushered us into California my wonder cup was full. And I realized we might never have enjoyed such panoramic views if circumstances had not pushed us in this direction. I further considered that so many natural wonders of the world have existed through the ages, yet most people will never see them.

Consumed by common pursuits, we miss the extraordinary ones. We might visit spectacular places if we set our minds to it—if strength, ability, and finances will support our adventures.

Years after that desert crossing, I have made little progress in seeing the world or even much of America. However, as a follower of Jesus, I have not missed out in beholding wonders.

Through Christ, despite any lack of strength, ability, or resources, we behold “the image of the invisible God… For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell” (Colossians 1:15, 19 ESV). Through Him we have access to an undiluted view of God that will grow sharper as we grow closer. And our journey will never end.

God’s mystery… is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Colossians 2:3 ESV

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Patti Richter lives in north Georgia with her husband, Jim. She is a freelance journalist and long-time faith columnist at with more than four hundred published articles.

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Patti is the co-author of the award-winning Signs of His Presence—Experiencing God’s Comfort in Times of Suffering. It is the story of Luann Mire, whose godly husband was blindsided by an indictment due to a former employer’s tax fraud. The resulting prison sentence and restitution took the once joyful couple into a long season of suffering as they fought judicial tyranny. Helpless to change her situation, Luann endured a painful examination of her life and found God faithful to His promises.

Join the conversation: What spectacular places have you visited?