After months of hiding from excruciatingly hot weather, I am finally enjoying the beauty, the tranquility, and the sheer awesomeness of God’s creation! By now, you may have noticed that this website is sprawling with images displaying all of the most beautiful places I’ve been blessed to visit. I wish I could express in words this feeling or sense of wonder I get when I’m exploring outside, but I know anything I write would simply fall short- encountering God through His majestic creation is something that must be experienced first hand, not read. Even so, here I am attempting to put it all on paper.
Have you ever hiked to the top of a mountain and gasped at the beauty of the gorgeous view before you? Have you ever walked through a garden only to find yourself pausing every few steps to admire all the colors, shapes, and fragrances of all the flowers? Have you ever witnessed the first fall of snow and been delighted to behold the sea of white forming across your whole town?
There is something astounding yet oddly mysterious about it all. Even still, everything seems to make perfect sense. When you are at the top of that mountain, you realize how all of nature falls into place- the hills, animals, sun, moon, stream, lakes, and others all have a purpose and complement one another. When you stroll through that garden, you recognize, like Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, that all the various flowers together make it a sight to delight in, and if all were roses, the garden would lose its splendor. When you experience the seasons change, you suddenly become aware of the cycle of life from birth to death and from death to new life. With surprising glee, you are now taken aback by the insight that everything you are observing and witnessing tells the story of life itself.
We can learn so much of who God is and what He may be trying to tell us by simply observing and pondering everything He has created. Life has order. Every living thing whether it be plants, animals, or people has a purpose that complements one another. Death is not the end but instead, it is the way in which new life can rise forth. Maybe not all the mysteries of life have been unveiled through nature, but certainly quite a lot of them have!
Spending time in God’s creation can bring unexpected healing. Listening to the rhythmic sound of crashing waves at the beach soothes the ailing and calms the anxious. Watching the sunset and the array of colors dancing before ones’ eyes can uplift heavy hearts and still restless souls. Smelling the fragrant aroma of redwoods in the forest can renew the weary and excite the indifferent. Yes, healing can be felt in all of creation, and where there is healing, peace is sure to follow. How can it not?
When there is order, meaning and beauty abounding all around us, we cannot help but feel the peace that God so desperately desires to give us. When we realize that God creates every thing and every one with purpose and great love, we appreciate and respect our own life and that of others so much more. When we recognize that God has a masterful and glorious plan for all of creation including our own individual lives, our worries about the future begin to dissipate. When we see the entirety of God’s handiwork whether it be gazing at the luminous stars above us, for example, or the vast ocean at our feet, we can rest knowing that God’s will is truly better than our own- after all, God only creates masterpieces, will He not also transform our lives so that they can become masterpieces as well? Thus, there is incredible peace found in nature, because its beauty reminds us that there is a Creator who made it all.
When all is said and done, everything we observe, smell, touch and hear in nature points to our God- the master Creator of all living things. The mystery being unveiled in nature is God’s plan for all of our lives. The healing and peace we receive from enjoying His creation are all moments of grace God wishes to give us. As such, our time spent exploring outside can become moments of encountering God if we allow them to be. A hike through the mountains, however, is only a hike unless we take intentional time to pray and reflect about everything we are experiencing.
When you are spending time in His creation, tell God what you find beautiful, any observations you made and any feelings that arise in you. Then, ask God what He may be saying to you through these experiences. Often times, you will be amazed by how these insights can be ways God chooses to communicate to you about areas of your own life!