For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. [Romans 1:20a (NLT)]
Expecting another ad, I opened the email from my favorite outdoor gear supplier and was surprised to learn they will not be open today, on what’s become known as “Black Friday.” All 143 of their stores will be closed and their employees paid to “head outside.” Their message added, “When the rest of the world is fighting it out in the aisles, we hope to see you in the great outdoors.” Being a retailer dedicated to outdoor life, they believe being outside makes our lives better and, indeed, it does.
While they mention nature’s “restorative power,” they doesn’t mention why nature can restore our weary souls. For me, the reason is simple: God. From the smallest insect to the largest mountain and the heavens above, God reveals himself through his amazing creation. When outside, we become witnesses to His eternal power and divine nature. His power and might are visible in oceans, mountains, blizzards, rainstorms, lightening, and the night sky. Yet, one look at a spider’s web, a butterfly’s wings, a bird’s feather or a violet tells us he has a gentle touch as well. When he decorated our world, God didn’t stick to neutrals—he boldly used every color on his paint palette. His splendor is evident in the fall colors, rainbows, orchids, painted buntings, sunsets and glacial lakes. Nature assures us there is nothing haphazard or thoughtless about our world. A Creator who gave flowers an aroma so they’d be pollinated by bees who would then make honey definitely had a plan. A God who gave every one of us a unique set of fingerprints and every zebra a distinctive design of stripes without repeating himself is limitless and certainly attentive to detail. A master at creativity, He gave us eggs that turn into chicks, legless tadpoles that become hopping frogs, and acorns that grow into giant oaks. Without a doubt, the Designer who covered a rat with armor and made an armadillo, built a four-legged vacuum with the anteater, provided kangaroos with built-in pockets, and gave us tuxedo-wearing birds unable to fly called penguins, has a sense of humor and believes in laughter.
Please consider continuing your weekend of thanks by spending some time outside rather than at the mall. I’m sure we’ll still manage to get our holiday shopping done in time for Christmas. Moreover, a walk may not be a bad idea after all those sweet potatoes, slices of turkey, servings of dressing, and pieces of pie. While the knowledge of God we get from nature is limited, it is more than enough to convince and reassure us of His existence and our need to respond to His presence.
Forbid that I should walk through Thy beautiful world with unseeing eyes; Forbid that the lure of the market-place should ever entirely steal my heart away from the love of the open acres and the green trees; Forbid that under the low roof of workshop or office or study I should ever forget They great overarching sky. [John Baillie]
They were calling out to each other, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Heaven’s Armies! The whole earth is filled with his glory!” [Isaiah 6:3 (NLT)]
The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship. Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make him known. They speak without a sound or word; their voice is never heard. Yet their message has gone throughout the earth, and their words to all the world. [Psalm 19:1-4 (NLT)]