The sound of my jaw smacking the ground announced my flabbergasted reaction. I’ll never forget my first glimpse of the Grand Canyon and neither will anyone who was within earshot that day. This place truly is a work of natural art and a masterpiece of God’s creative imagination. I’ve been there twice now and still can’t begin to describe stunning majesty.
But not all those who have stood at its rim while peering into the dizzying heart of the canyon have shared this sentiment. In fact, the leader of an army detachment sent in 1857 to scout the American Southwest was mostly under-whelmed when he first sighted the canyon. Quoting from his expedition notes, he stated:
“The region is of course, altogether valueless. It can be approached only from the South, and after entering it there is nothing to do but leave. Ours has been the first, and will doubtless be the last, party of whites to visit this profitless locality. It seems intended by nature that the Colorado river, along with the greater portion of its lonely and majestic way, shall be forever unvisited and undisturbed.”
Lt. Joseph Christmas Ives,
1857 US War Dept. expedition
If Lt. Ives were around today, I wonder if he would he like to rephrase his assessment? This same landscape he judged worthless is now among the greatest natural treasures in the US National Park System. It attracts around five million visitors each year making it one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Not to mention the Colorado River, by way of Hoover Dam, provides electricity and water to tens of millions who live in the Southwest.
So which was truly “valueless” — the canyon and its river, or Lt. Ives’ assessment of them?
Yet with all the Grand Canyon’s splendor, there is another creation God prizes even more — you. You are the apex of his creation. And when anyone, including you, questions your worth, God laughs just as hard as we do at Lt. Ives’ journal entry. He knows the worth of his creation. When looking at you, God sees the potential in your life even when others do not.
So don’t let the Ives’ of this world convince you that you have no value. The only one who can truly assign value appraised you as “priceless” when he sacrificed his own son to add you to his family.
When you look in the mirror, look past the paper-thin veil of a worthless report and be awe-struck by the potential of God’s most wonderful creation.
Live The Mission,