As my first tour rounded the south and west rims of the Grand Canyon, I could scarcely believe what I was seeing — a canyon that delves a mile deep and 23 miles around the perimeter of the rim. The Colorado River, enormous at the bottom, looks miniscule (and sometimes not even visible to the naked eye) from above. The thousands of layers of rock that make up the the canyon make both striking and subtle changes in the shifting daylight.
My wonder and awe deepened as tour guides informed us about the natural phenomena that went into creating this massive spectacle. The “basement” levels of rock began forming 5 billion (yes, billion) years ago. Through the shifting of tectonic plates, the Colorado Plateau formed some of the height we see in the canyon today. Then, “only” 5-6 million years ago the Colorado River began moving sediment, carving layer after layer of rock in order to form the canyon walls you see today.
I couldn’t help but think, “This is the kind of change that a lot of water and a lot of time can produce.”
It’s hard not to feel humbled by such knowledge and splendor. Who am I? — a tiny drop of water that rolls along such a vast rock. Being made to feel so insignificant is healthy, I think. I believe God has called me to try to effect change in the church. Everyday I try to do that the best I can. Many days I don’t feel like I do much of anything.
Then, I look at the Grand Canyon, an amazing witness to the power of change and the vast amounts of time it takes to create it. Though I am humbled, I am also inspired because I see tangibly the many forces it takes, working together over long periods of time to create stunning change.
Although this change happened over millions of years, it still evolves in tremendous quantity every day. One tour guide pointed out that 50,000 TONS of sediment are pushed out of the canyon everyday by the Colorado River. All those rain drops and pebbles really add up.
Friends and colleagues in ministry do not be discouraged because you don’t seem to be able to effect change RIGHT NOW. Take a lesson from the Grand Canyon: keep applying steady pressure, take advantage of the major shifts and you, too, will be witness to stunning change.