I love mountains. I always have and I probably always will. There’s something about their bigness that really takes my breath away. Whether I’m at the bottom, watching the peaks dance with the clouds, or I’m at the top, taking in the naturally impossible perspective of this miraculous planet, mountains really are awe-inspiring for me. I think we like to be amazed by big things—solar systems, mountains, big buildings—because it puts things back in perspective. It reminds us how small and insignificant we really are in comparison to all of creation.

One of my favorite things about mountains is how they’re created. There are several different ways that they shoot up out of the ground like they do, but one of the most common ways is by millions and millions of years of tectonic plates bashing up against one another. That’s how the Himalayas in Asia were formed, that’s how the Andes in South America were formed, and that’s how the Rockies in the good old U.S. of A and Canada were formed.  I think, anyway. I’m no geologist, but I’m pretty sure that’s how it worked. Let’s just go with it.

But wait. Didn’t God create the mountains? Well, yes but probably not how most people envision. I think God has a plan for how he wants mountains to look and He uses the natural process of seismic activity and other tectonic plate stuff that’s beyond me to make it all happen. I think that’s the way it is with a lot of things. God uses what we call “Science” to accomplish and create the things He intended to create from the beginning, which we often call “Creation.”

The reason I love how mountains are created so much is because the whole process teaches me a little bit about life. When these tectonic plates build up pressure and go head-to-head against one another, it sends seismic waves across the land—earthquakes. The effects of earthquakes are often devastating. Things that people have probably worked so hard to build and accomplish are ruined. Rubble litters the street. Homes are left in shambles, and life just seems like complete chaos. But in the midst of this devastation and pain and chaos, beauty is being created. Without earthquakes, mountains wouldn’t exist. The rubble, the homes, the chaos and pain…all that will pass. The roads can be cleaned. The homes can be repaired and rebuilt. It may take weeks. It may take months. It may take years. But the devastation, the pain, the chaos, is temporary. It will pass. The beauty of a mountain, however, is there to stay.

There are so many events and tragedies in life that are devastating, painful, chaotic, and earth-shattering. But ultimately, God is in control. And He’s pretty good at creating beauty. I know I can look back at my life and compare it to my life now, and I can see the beauty that has resulted from the chaos and pain that once was. And that’s one lesson I have to constantly remind myself of. In the midst of creating beauty there is often pain. Kind of like a waterfall. It’s chaotic and loud and probably painful (if you’re under one big enough) to be in the middle of. But once you get through it, once you get past it all, you can look back and take in the whole scene. And it’s gorgeous. And kind of like a storm that never seems to end. But every so often, when that storm passes there’s a rainbow that helps remind you that everything’s going to be okay. Even if it’s just a small reminder.

All this talk of beauty and mountains and waterfalls and rainbows makes me feel and probably sound a little bit more poetic than I actually am. But I guess that’s okay.

Bad things in life just happen. They just do. But when they do, we can choose to sit and sulk and wallow, or we can choose to pick up the pieces, salvage what we can, know that God’s in control, and keep on keeping on, keeping a watchful eye for the beauty being created in the midst of chaos.