I scrolled through Facebook recently and noticed several friends in my area had posted pictures of a gorgeous sunset from earlier that evening. I thought back on my night, confused as to how I had missed this beautiful site. I was driving around at the time of this sunset, out and about running errands, so why didn’t I see it?
As I thought about what my evening entailed, I realized the answer was simple: I didn’t see it because I wasn’t looking. The sunset was right there in front of me, but I didn’t see it. What I “saw” was my mental to-do list and various places I had to be, and as a result, I experienced the sunset only through second-hand images. One friend said of her sunset photo: “The picture just doesn’t do justice to the real thing.”
As I continued scrolling through, another picture caught my eye. It was a photo of the snow after someone clearly attempted a snow angel. If I were passing by, I would have likely seen the disheveled snow but then moved right along. The photographer, however, stopped, looked, and considered the beauty of the mysterious image left after someone’s playful efforts.
I sat on the couch pondering how many times I’ve missed the beauty in God’s creation because I haven’t stopped long enough to really see it. The snow falling becomes a nuisance to my driving, it’s too cold out to admire the stars, and the birds that land on the feeder have been there a hundred times before. While I walk through the week, I often miss the reality that every encounter with God’s creation holds beauty that is worthy of my consideration.
Psalm 19:1-4 says: “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard. Their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.”
Or as the Message paraphrases it: “God’s glory is on tour in the skies, God-craft on exhibit across the horizon. Madame Day holds classes every morning, Professor Night lectures each evening. Their words aren’t heard, their voices aren’t recorded. But their silence fills the earth: unspoken truth is spoken everywhere.”
We can’t become believers who are too busy to hear and savor creation as it sings out the praises of God. Every flower that blooms and every snow-covered mountain that stands magnificently reveals the beauty of God and loudly declares His glory.
With all the New Year’s resolutions being formed and attempted, it’s important that we consider the pace at which we walk through our days. Are we taking anytime during the week to stop and slowdown from the normal pace of life? This is, after all, why the Lord provided for us a day of rest. He knew that we would need a day to recuperate, slow the pace, and be encouraged with God’s people in worship.
Labor is hard, and our loads are heavy, and because of this we’re in daily need of God’s grace to get through our weeks, months, and years. We can’t do what we’re called to by our own strength. And so, in His graciousness, the Lord reminds us to humble ourselves and admit that we need Him, but this requires times of ceasing from our frenzied life and being quiet before the Lord. He promises that through Him, we will find rest for our souls (Matthew 11:29).
And one of the ways we can find rest in Him is through His creation. It’s easy to change the daily pace by filling time with Netflix or a good book, and neither are necessarily bad ways to spend down time, but how many times do we stop what we’re doing in order to see God’s creation, in order to take in the beauty that unfolds around us? How often do we listen to that unspoken truth that is spoken everywhere in God’s handiwork?
I visited my sister in her hometown of Kalispell, Montana last summer. The beauty of the mountains and lakes in Glacier National Park were breathtaking. It’s hard to describe in words the way in which the splendor of that place drew me into the majesty of God. But I’m also keenly aware that I don’t need to travel in order to experience refreshment through God’s creation. My own backyard is filled with God-crafts; it’s just a matter of taking the time to stop and see it. It’s amazing how a soul can be refueled after taking a walk or even sitting in front of the window and watching creation at work.
Just a few days ago, my daughter ran in the house after playing outside and loudly exclaimed: “Mom, you have to come see! It looks like the clouds are in a parade!” I walked outside with my daughter, and we watched the clouds. And for just a little while, the to-do list was set aside and my soul was rejuvenated as I watched God’s beauty unfold in the sky.
About the Author:
Katie is wife to Chris, a PCA pastor at Trinity church in Kirkwood, MO, and together they have three children, Ella (15), J-Rod (13), and Lily (9). Katie works as the music director at Trinity and serves on the Women’s Ministry Committee. She also spends much of her time writing, teaching piano, leading women’s Bible studies, and speaking to women’s groups about the joy she has found in Christ. Katie serves on the board of Covenant College, where she graduated with a BA in English Education, and is currently pursuing her Masters of Arts in Theology from Covenant Seminary in St. Louis. For more information, as well as various blog entries, you can visit her website at www.katiepolski.com.