I have to admit that I am a city boy. My idea of roughing it is when the cable is out. So needless to say I am not a big fan of living off the land but I do really enjoy hanging out with nature. It’s strange but no matter how hectic, stressful and even downright irritating my life can sometimes become, when I take the time to pause with God’s creation, everything becomes calm. In fact here are a few of my favorite ways to unwind. None of which I get to do that often.
- During a good rain storm I like to get in my car with the engine off, recline the seat and listen to the rain beat on the roof and windows around me. I think I got that from my mother. When I was growing up we used to sit on the front porch during every thunder storm. Those memories have made me love the rain so much.
- Sit on a boat at the lake and just float aimlessly. The rocking and the sound of the water seems to lull me into a state of complete relaxation. I donâ€™t have a boat or know anyone with a one for that matter so I donâ€™t do this but once every few years when the opportunity presents itself.
- Horseback riding is one of my great loves. This one also came from my mother who loved horses so much. When I used to travel around the country I would get so excited when my host had horses. This is one I havenâ€™t done in over 5 or so years.
- Lastly, I enjoy simply sitting on my back deck and reading a good book. I hate being hot though so this only works in the spring and the fall.
Recently this Psalm has come to my attention and has made sense of why I feel so much more relaxed when I spend even these brief moments with Godâ€™s creation.
1 The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. 2 Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. 3 There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard. 4 Their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them he has set a tent for the sun, 5 which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber, and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy. 6 Its rising is from the end of the heavens, and its circuit to the end of them, and there is nothing hidden from its heat.
7 The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; 8 the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; 9 the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether. 10 More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. 11 Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.
12 Who can discern his errors? Declare me innocent from hidden faults. 13 Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me! Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression.
14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.
Does anyone else find it interesting that the Psalmist goes from describing how nature itself perfectly worships God to the harvest, if I may use another nature type word, which comes from Godâ€™s counsel? By following the word of the Lord we reap a reviving of the soul, wisdom, joy and clearer vision. This calm that I feel when I spend my few moments in the midst of God’s creation is a glimpse of what it feels like to be totally surrendered to God as nature itself already is. I am, in that moment, face to face with the life God desires me to live.
It is also in that encounter that a renewed commitment to God is born. Take a moment and read Romans 1:20. I think Paul and the Psalmist are on the same page. I might just be getting there myself.