• Keith Mathison

The Heavens Declare the Glory of God


I have made some long road trips during my life. My first long road trip occurred after high school when some friends and I decided to drive from the Houston, Texas area where we lived to South Padre Island to go surfing. South Padre Island is on the southern tip of Texas, so this would be an approximately six-and-a-half-hour drive today. After picking up one of our friends, we were informed that the surf report in South Padre was not good. There were no waves. We were bummed for a few minutes wondering what we should do.

On the spur of the moment, we decided not to exit Interstate 10 to go south or u-turn to go home. Instead, we decided to stay on I-10 and drive to San Diego, California. Today, this is about a 22-hour drive. It was much longer that year because the national 55 mph speed limit was still in effect. I do not remember how long that drive took, but it was exhausting. We drove straight through, stopping only for gas, food, and to switch drivers.

You get some strange looks from other drivers when you are in the middle of southern New Mexico with three surfboards tied to the roof of your car and a thousand miles from the ocean, but it was worth it. When we got to San Diego, the waves were actually too big to ride. They were closing out at almost every beach, and if you did manage to catch one, you would certainly be in store for a painful wipe-out.


After driving for so long just to go surfing, zeal overtook what little wisdom I possessed at the time, and I paddled out into some closeout waves north of San Diego at Carlsbad beach. I caught a closeout wave with a face at least 16 feet high and rode it for a little bit, but I almost drowned that day. Thankfully, we were not aware of Mavericks (the one spot that probably wasn't closing out) or we would have probably driven up north and tried to ride that wave on our little six and a half foot surfboards. They would have probably never found our bodies.

The following year, I made that same road trip with another friend. When we arrived in San Diego, the waves were almost non-existent. We made the best of it. Eventually, all of us and a few others would make a trip down to Costa Rica to go surfing. By the way, if you’ve never been to Costa Rica, put it on your post-coronavirus “things to do” list. It’s an absolutely beautiful country with beautiful people . . . and amazing surf as well. Look up Pavones on YouTube to see the kind of waves that you can find there.

What’s the point of all this reminiscing? On each of the trips from Houston to San Diego, we drove non-stop. This meant that on several occasions we were driving through the night in very remote parts of West Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. It was Winter, and the weather was clear. I simply want to say that if you ever get the opportunity to drive all night in the desert away from the bright lights of the city, do it. If the weather is clear, stop your car at 2:00 or 3:00 am, step outside and look at the sky. I did this a few times on our road trips. I don't know if any of you have ever experienced full-body goosebumps. I did when I saw the night sky. The number of stars that are visible in the middle of a clear winter night in the dry air of the desert is stunning. The picture I included along with this post is close to what it looked like. There is a beauty there that is almost indescribable.


The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork (Psalm 19:1).

Photo by Wesley Armstrong on Unsplash

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