Crater Lake, Oregon taken with 35 mm film in the ’90s
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. That verse comes to mind when the word “pure” crosses my mind.
We can see God in the purity of His creation. I don’t mean in a New Age-y way that by gazing at a hundreds of years old gnarly tree that you actually see some sort of being that you choose to worship. In my faith, I see the pure nature of the one true God, Creator of all things, by merely appreciating the beauty and magnificence He created in this world we live in.
“Purity is the gatekeeper for everything precious and blissful in God’s kingdom.” ~ Eric Ludy
Last week’s photo challenge theme was “pure” and I simply and purely did not get around to writing a blog post to accompany a photo I captured many years ago which encapsulated that word. So I’m a tad behind.
As soon as I realized that theme, my memory bank withdrew this photo I’d taken in the 90’s. One I took with a point and shoot camera and –gasp!—35mm film.
Film. What an old concept, huh? Film. You actually needed to load it yourself into a camera and hope that it caught correctly on those little spools of the inner workings of the thing.
Film. You had to develop it with chemicals in a dark room or send it off somewhere so you could preserve your snapshots on photographic paper.
Film. You waited to see the fruit of your labor and to ascertain whether or not you really captured a good shot or a truly awful one that would end up in the trash bin.
So this photo is a throwback to times past to those days before digital cameras. To days when my family lived in the Pacific Northwest and we took advantage of beautiful places to visit and memories to make from some of God’s most beautiful creations practically in our own backyard.
My photo was taken in southern Oregon when we visited Crater Lake, a body of water that is 1,943 feet deep making it the deepest lake in the United States and the ninth deepest lake in the world. The crater was created basically by a volcano erupting and collapsing into itself forming what is called a caldera.
Now I’ve seen a lot of lakes in my time so why did this lake evoke the word “pure” to me? Because it is just that – pure. There is very little of anything in this crystal clear lake water but water – no algae, no sediment, or pollution. Not entirely pure, but pretty darn close. And my, oh my, is it blue. Pure blue. There is some scientific reason for that which I’ve forgotten over the years, but I’ve never forgotten how very pure that lake appears to the eye.
After seeing Crater Lake for the first time in 1919, Western genre author Zane Grey wrote, “I expected something remarkable, but was not prepared for a scene of such wonder and beauty…. Nowhere else had I ever seen such a shade of blue…. How exquisite, rare, unreal!”
Sounds like he’s describing something remarkably pure, doesn’t it? And something pure seems so very rare especially in our world today.
“Purity is the diamond of the soul.” ~ Edward Counsel, Maxims
According to my trusty desk dictionary, the definition of pure means “unmixed with any other matter; being thus and no other; free from what vitiates, weakens, or pollutes; and having exactly the talents or skills needed for a particular role.”
That definition fits Crater Lake, that majestic and exquisite marvel created by God. And it also defines God, if indeed you can actually define Him.
He is unmixed with any other. He is the one true God made up by three – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. “Unto thee it was shown, that thou mightest know that the Lord he is God; there is none else beside him… Know therefore this day, and consider it in thine heart, that the Lord he is God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath: there is none else.” ~ Deuteronomy 4:35,39
He is thus and no other. There is no one like Him. “For I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me.” ~ Isaiah 46:9
He is free from what vitiates, weakens, or pollutes. He is holy, righteous, and good to everyone. “The LORD is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made.” ~ Psalm 145:9 and “Splendid and majestic is His work, and His righteousness endures forever.” ~ Psalm 111:3
He has everything He needs for a particular role. His role is ruler of the universe and sovereign king of all. “O Lord, God of our fathers, are you not God in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. In your hand are power and might, so that none is able to withstand you.” ~ 2 Chronicles 20:6
I’m reminded of the Lord’s purity every time I view His masterpieces whether they be in nature such as Crater Lake or the broad expanse of blue sky over my head. Or as I read about Him in my Bible or simply and purely thank Him for the very breaths of my life. He is purely good. And we humans are not. If you disagree with me, that’s your choice, but I ask you to just take note of the daily news for proof that humans can be purely evil, especially to one another.
That’s why it’s important for me and those of us who call ourselves believers in Christ to focus purely on Him. To perform good works in His name and for His glory not our own. And to tell others about His purity in loving and saving us through His Son Jesus Christ.
Purely focusing on Him is not an easy lesson to learn and one I must continually relearn every day upon awakening because I do desire to be among the blessed and pure in heart and see God in everything I see, do, and say. His love for me (and you) is immeasurably deeper than the deepest lake in the world. And it is purer than anything imaginable.
“Deep, solemn optimism, it seems to me, should spring from this firm belief in the presence of God in the individual; not a remote, unapproachable governor of the universe, but a God who is very near every one of us, who is present not only in earth, sea and sky, but also in every pure and noble impulse of our hearts.” ~ Helen Keller, Optimism