Creation Shows Us God
by Anna Balsamo
Heart Song Worship Center
Romans 1:20 (NIV)
"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 men are without excuse." Psalm 19:1-3
Psalm 19:1 (NIV)
"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 display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world."
I don't know about you, but gazing up at the stars at night completely blows me away! I mean, wow! Just this morning during a very early prayer time, I looked out my front window and lo and behold I saw the big dipper hanging in front of me like a cluster of fireworks paused in the sky. Just there - hanging right in front of me. A rare treat for me (I'm not usually up that early!) from my Heavenly Father. As I stood there ready for prayer, I couldn't help worshipping Him and giving Him praise for such a beautiful sight. It spoke to me of His awesomeness and His steadfastness. That dipper is always there even if I can't see it on any given night.
That's why I believe we need to spend more time outdoors (or at least looking out our windows!). We humans hunger for visible proof of Him. "Is He real?" we ask. Feeling the breeze blowing through autumn leaves; seeing the rabbits dance across the neighbor's yard; hearing the birds in melody on any given morning. These all speak to us of Him and remind us that, "He is the LORD, and there is no other." (Isaiah 45:5)
Have you ever watched the sunrise or a sunset? Haven't you felt the awe of the gently rising sun gradually breaking through the darkness, or a vibrant, glowing sunset giving off colors too spectacular to name? Cherry red; vivid orange, hints of violet and pink gradually deepening to the midnight blue of a night sky. And hasn't that view amazed you and somehow comforted you in a way you find hard to express?
"He restores my soul." (Ps. 23:3) One of the ways He does this is through His creation. I have been fortunate enough to have gone snorkeling on more than one occasion with my husband and two sons, and while I am not completely comfortable jumping off a boat into the sea, man oh man, what sights to behold there. Dozens of different creatures swim about without a care in the world, gently nibbling on something my human eyes cannot see. And their colors! You know what? Television just cannot capture their unbelievable beauty. I marvel at the intricate care my Heavenly Father took in creating them and it strengthens my faith.
Today's children are spending more and more time indoors compared to let's say, 40 years ago when the majority of kids played outside after long hours of sitting still for school. I can remember playing with my siblings and neighbor friends for hours until our mother's shouted for us to come in for dinner. Our cheeks were flushed from play and fresh air and it didn't matter if it was cold out or not. Of course, that was way before the advent of cable television and video games. (Yes, we had color T.V.!!!!!) Richard Louv, author of the book, Last Child in the Woods, alleges that because children are spending less time outdoors, it has resulted in a wide range of behavioral problems. He coined the term, "Nature Deficit Disorder" with regard to this problem. He spent 10 years traveling around the USA reporting and speaking to parents and children, in both rural and urban areas, about their experiences in nature. He argues that sensationalist media coverage and paranoid parents have literally "scared children straight out of the woods and fields." Because of this, "safe" regimented sports over imaginative play outdoors have been favored by parents.
Attention disorders and depression may develop because, "kids who don't get nature-time seem more prone to anxiety, depression and attention-deficit problems." says Louv. He suggests that going outside and being in the quiet (no electronics! Italics mine) and calm can help greatly. Louv goes on to state that, "treating this nature deficit disorder (in other words, getting them outside for long periods of time. Italics mine) has a positive effect on the attention span, stress reduction, creativity, cognitive development, and their sense of wonder and connection to the earth."
While I don't know if Mr. Louv is a Christian or not, and I do not believe in worshipping nature (only the One who created it!), it does seem as though we were meant to spend large amounts of time outdoors being refreshed by the wonderful world around us.
Did you know that over 80 percent of the U.S. population now lives in cities? Not much nature to be seen there. Skyscrapers block our view of the sky and a gentle breeze can't be heard above the din of horns from cabs and the siren of police cars whizzing by.
Adults spend most of their day indoors working usually sitting at a desk without even a window nearby compared to life just over 50 years ago when people worked in small towns and walked to work or farmed their own land.
"Work that demands focused attention (such as desk work or studying) for a lengthy period can result in mental fatigue, which can be expressed as irritability, physical tiredness, and the inability to concentrate." ("Social Benefits of Civic Nature", by Kathleen L. Wolf, PhD.) Dr. Wolf goes on to state that, "desk workers who have a view of nature report greater job productivity and satisfaction and reduced absenteeism." And, "Hospital patients who have a view of nature recover faster from surgery and require less pain medication." (Excerpt taken from the same article mentioned above.)
Amazing, isn't it? In view of all these statistics and findings is it any wonder that the enemy is keeping us inside more and more? Don't you think he relishes the fact that kids have their faces buried in their cell phones instead of the possibility of seeing God through the sunshine shimmering softly through gently swaying trees or birds singing as they walk to the school bus each day? I think he's happy when adults come home tired and mentally exhausted from a long day working on a computer and then too tired to even walk the dog. "Let's keep 'em inside," I can hear him say to his angels. "Cause if we do, they'll be too busy to notice Him and too sick to care!"
So I recommend shutting off the computer (mine will be turned off in a moment!) and laying the cell phone aside and raking some of those autumn leaves that have fallen. (Have the children help you.) Or take your "cup of Joe" and sit on the front porch on a Saturday morning instead of plopping yourself in front of the T.V. Take a walk, ride a bike or hike in the woods. Ask the Lord to refresh you with His presence, and as He does - worship Him, "For He is the LORD, who has made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by Himself." (Isaiah 44:24b)