In last week’s Picture of the Week I mentioned that I had been working my way up Thunderhead Prong in the Smokies.  It’s funny, because as much of a map nerd as I am, I’ve never taken the time to explore the creek on a map, so imagine my surprise when I rounded a corner one morning, only to realize that there is not one, but two splits in the stream in close proximity!  More streams to explore!  It turns out that there are even more than what I discovered on that particular day, but I was especially excited about this first one because of the cascades I could see from the opposite bank of Thunderhead Prong.  On that day the water was moving too fast to try to reach this new stream, but I returned a few days later and the water levels had dropped enough that I could cross, and man, what an experience I had!

I don’t talk about my faith in God just a whole lot in my Picture of the Week blog, but those of you that know me personally, know that my faith is very important to me.  I find more and more that my photography outings end up being worshipful, very spiritual experiences, and the morning I shot these photos was no different.  Some friends of mine and I had been doing a Bible study called Wild at Heart by John Eldridge, and he talks about us being children of God.  Growing up in church this notion of a “child of God” is obviously not new to me, but I wrestled with my understanding of it while doing this study.  How can we think of an all holy, all powerful God as father?  Not just in some churchy, superficial way, but actually as… Dad.  In this sense, what is it truly like to be a child?

This was all on my mind as I was exploring this stream.  I was literally blown away by the beauty I was finding, and I couldn’t help but thank God for allowing me to discover it.  This particular stream isn’t reachable by any trail (in fact it’s a little dicey to reach it altogether), and while I am sure other humans have seen it, it struck me how much God has created… just for the sake of creating.  He created these places, knowing that myself and others would experience the joy of a child when our eyes took it all in.  This got me thinking; you know the joy we get when we surprise a friend with a gift or something special?  Parents, you know the feeling you get when your kids open their gifts on Christmas morning?  Is this what God experiences when we, His children, look on His creation with awe and wonder?  Was God experiencing joy right now, from my excitement over His creation?  I couldn’t help but ponder these things all the way back to my car.  What a wonderful, worship-filled experience!

More next week!

–Dan Thompson

Title Address Description
Cades Cove
Sams Creek, Tennessee, USA

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