Grace in the Hill Country

O sing to the Lord a new song,
    for he has done marvelous things.
His right hand and his holy arm
    have gotten him victory.
The Lord has made known his victory;
    he has revealed his vindication in the sight of the nations.
He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness
    to the house of Israel.
All the ends of the earth have seen
    the victory of our God.

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth;
    break forth into joyous song and sing praises.
Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre,
    with the lyre and the sound of melody.
With trumpets and the sound of the horn
    make a joyful noise before the King, the Lord.

Let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
    the world and those who live in it.
Let the floods clap their hands;
    let the hills sing together for joy
at the presence of the Lord, for he is coming
    to judge the earth.
He will judge the world with righteousness,
    and the peoples with equity. –Psalm 98

Taylor and I traveled to her home state of Texas this past weekend for her brother’s wedding (which I had the honor of officiating). We had some down time on Friday morning, and Taylor insisted we go hunt down her favorite breakfast food: kolaches (a sort of “pig in a blanket” pastry authentically baked in central Texas by Czech immigrants). Like good millennials we found the closest bakery on Google maps and set off with a smart phone as our guide. The only problem was that the bakery we chose was only the closest “as the crow flies” but we were taking winding ranch roads and highways. What should have been a quick trip became a half hour drive and I started to get frustrated.

That was, until we came upon an amazingly beautiful hilltop from which we could see rolling hills and valleys for miles. If you’ve ever been to the hill country surrounding Austin, you know what I’m talking about. The sight of deer grazing among cacti under the perfectly blue sky as the gorgeous countryside passed us by was enough to awaken me to God’s presence all around. I felt like the psalmist when he describes “the hills singing for joy.” What a blessing it is when God uses nature to remind us of his mercy, love, and faithfulness to and for His creation. When we finally arrived at the bakery, the kolaches were as delicious as possibly could be hoped, and we had a lovely drive back with a “joyful noise” ringing in our hearts all the way!