I’ve been sitting with my notebook and my Bible open at a café in the Coromandel Peninsula. Getting here to this place involved a series of closed roads and closed restaurants. Sometimes, it takes a bunch of closed roads to get to the right road. I followed nature beside the seaside, around the harbor, and through the bush. And my car landed in the middle of an orchard, miles away from any town.
I needed to get away – to retreat from all the distractions of a messy house, of needing to go to the supermarket, and especially from being sick. I needed an adventure, so I drove through the sunrise into paradise..
I notice the yellow leaves of a tall tree to my right – and those leaves are clapping, dancing, and praising the name of Jehovah. The sparrows are singing their pure and innocent songs from the mandarin orchard to my left – the God of the universe provides their food and drink. Every living thing around me is having fun and I am enjoying each moment of God’s presence. This beats Netflix any day.
Written down above what my pen is inking now is a portion of what I’ve just read in my green and purple TNIV Bible: “I will celebrate before the Lord. I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes. But by these slave girls you spoke of, I will be held in honor.” (II Samuel 6:20-23)
Sitting down by a packed out New Zealand café with a Bible open is not normal here. I struggled to even bring it out. Now that the birds around me are seeing and the children on both sides are playing and everything around me is happy and content, I don’t feel embarrassed. But I did at first. And I am ashamed because David took off his clothes and danced before the Lord. He didn’t care. The sparrows never care what we think of their songs. The trees don’t care if we think their dancing leaves are out of rhythm.
Nature reminds me, causing me to pause, that there is a good God. It helps to refocus my life.
Does being in nature help you? Is there something else that helps you pause?
I once decided to make a list of animals and plants – anything in nature, really – and then think about what and how they reflected glory on God.
The majesty of lions, the tremendous strength of elephants, the delight of a father or mother over their child. These remind us of who God is.
The herd of sheep that depend on the shepherd or the sheepdog to keep them safe. The autumn leaves dancing and glowing as they fall in the midday sun. The way that child looks up at his father and mother in adoration. These remind me of our dependence on God.
“The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it, the world and all who live in it.” (Psalm 24:1)
All of creation reflects the nature and the beauty of God and his goodness.
Pausing in creation, finding yourself stopped to smell the roses, is one of the greatest gifts we have. Nature allows us to rest and find peace.
Nature allows us to refocus so that we can live our lives more fully, away from the chaos, back to Eden where we can dance like David and praise like the sparrows and the trees all around us.