Spring is finally unfolding in North Carolina. Those of you who live in the north can enjoy it in your armchair for now. Little platforms of green are popping up in the marsh someday to sport cardinal flowers. The jewelweed is up and the fluffy groundcover which blankets the forest is starting to appear. I know it’s a weed, but it does soften the visual landscape. And I suspect it may be good to nibble on if you are a deer or rabbit. There is such abundance waiting to appear, I almost don’t want it to start because it happens so fast.
God started our life in a garden. Yea! He provides all kinds of ecosystems for us to enjoy, from the beach to the prairie to the mountains. We are blessed in NC to have all of this within a short drive. Scripture testifies that we are to enjoy this gift of our natural surroundings as well as recognize what it is saying to us. Nature reflects His love, glory, creativity and beauty. The natural world is an open invitation to come to know Him. Some of His creation, such as the mountains, are so spectacular that they almost cry out His name.
As I’ve written previously, my childhood years were spent in the country living on a gentleman’s farm with woods, fields, an orchard and even a sky pond in which to swim. I am deeply grateful for that experience as it grounded me in so many ways before I personally knew Jesus. Nature still grounds me, especially now that He and I are in constant conversations about what He wants me to say each week to encourage you. But before I knew Him as Lord and Savior, I recognized that there was something about the creation around me that spoke of Him. I could see it in the birds, wildflowers, mountain tops and rivers, and especially along the deserted ocean beaches of Nantucket.
Paul talks about how even those who don’t know Him can see Him in the natural world around them, so much so that they are without excuse in saying that they don’t know there is a God of the universe.
“For since the creation of the world, God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”*
When people say they are unsure if there is a God, you can have them ponder the delicacy of some of His creation such as the fragrance and petals of a David Austin English rose or a peony, the complexity of our DNA, the ability of every living plant to grow, blossom and put out seed. This intricate capacity didn’t happen by chance. There is a natural design that demands a designer. Believing in the Big Bang actually takes more faith than believing in a God who is infinitely intelligent and creative.
But we can also see Him in the heavens.
“The heavens declare the glory of God. The skies proclaim the work of His hands. Day after day they pour forth speech, night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they have no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.”**
Amazing! If that is not a testimony to His desire for us to see Him all around us, I don’t know what is. When I’m outside at night where I can see the stars, I contemplate the immensity of God to have created the heavens. I have a book on the galaxies and stars, and it astounds me to read it and think about how God created the entire universe and keeps track of it all perfectly. I can barely keep track of my little world! There are thousands of stars and galaxies we don’t even know about yet. Or I’ll look at my book about butterflies which gives closeup images of their wings and the tiny cells that give them color, or my book on snowflakes and I find myself wondering all over again that each and every one is different.
Every human being is unique with its own set of DNA and fingerprint. Every bird that flies has been specifically created by Him. So is every flower and butterfly. And He keeps track of every feather, petal, branch and flower.
If we just stop, look, and behold the creation around us, we will never doubt His provision for us. For He has given us abundantly more than we could ever ask or imagine.
Now that it is spring, the next time you are out and about, take time to look at the tree blossoms, the ruffle on a daffodil trumpet, the simplicity of a dogwood blossom or the drama of the peonies. Or hunt for discovery in the woodlands for new wildflowers. Then really study their intricacy and wonder about the God who created all of this for your pleasure.
“But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you;
or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.”
Job 12:7-10 NIV
* Romans 1:20 NIV
** Psalm 19:1-4 NIV