By Yay Padua-Olmedo

Once in a while, awesome gets to be endless wow-some.

We tasted that in a recent three-day road trip (Thanks, Carlo and Opal.) spanning 1,600 miles across California, Nevada and Arizona.

Wow number one: Las Vegas, as usual pulsing with its mesmerizing lights and sounds―post the Pacquiao-Mayweather fight. We got a glimpse of our Pambansang Kamao’s fighting form plastered on buses plying its busy streets.

Vegas is of course gamblers’ paradise. But I’ve witnessed families fall apart due to gambling so I wasn’t that thrilled; especially since its hotels cum casinos reeked of cigarette smoke.

Las Vegas always reminded me of the Lord’s encounter (Matthew 4:1-11) with the devil who took Him to a very high mountain to show off the world’s kingdoms and their splendor.

All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me,” (v 9).

Brainless devil! How could man-made grandeur compare with the magnificence of God’s handiwork?

The Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon versus Las Vegas? No contest!

From Vegas, we drove eight hours to Williams City prior to Grand Canyon, Arizona; on the way stopping by the Hoover Dam (Boulder City, Nevada), an immense arch-gravity dam built for flood control, irrigation and hydroelectric power. Regarded as a man-made wonder even if constructed back in 1931, the Hoover Dam is a testament to man’s God-given ability to tackle seemingly impossible tasks.

But Hoover Dam itself is puny compared to the other wows which awaited us:

The Grand Canyon―magnificence beyond compare. It’s like beholding God―probably the same reverential fear experienced by Moses when God spoke to Him from the burning bush.

Exodus 3:5―”Do not come any closer, God said. Take off your sandals, for the place you’re standing is holy ground.

Hoover Dam

Hoover Dam

Of course, instead of taking my rubber shoes off, I shot away.  But pictures alone could not convey this overwhelming wonder in the presence of God’s glory. It’s as if I’ve touched the face of God and lived to tell it all.

1 Chronicles 29:11―”Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and the earth is yours.

This verse resonated as we passed plains, mountains, hills, plateaus, and valleys―all differently hued and textured either with giant boulders, rock gardens, endless sand dunes, forests and intimidating wildernesses; acres and acres of wheat and vegetable plantations, windmill farms, cow pasturelands and ranches; while the heavens stared at us through crying clouds or clouds pregnant with rain, and happy clouds of whipped creams, crocodile, chariot, French bread or whatever we imagined. We even had some snow the eve of our Grand Canyon adventure.

Good thing our GPS directed us to the back roads of Nevada, Arizona and California, not the usual freeways. Our wows just would not let up.

How surreal is that? Alice’s wonderland does not even come close. A grace avalanche, indeed!