From Genesis 1
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth…day, night, land, sea, sky, vegetation, living creatures, man, woman…. God saw all that He had made, and it was very good. Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array.
The Creation Story is familiar to most Christians. I enjoy hearing it read and I picture God at work, creating – making out of nothing – all that is. He’s having a great time, considering all manner of possibilities before settling on each, bringing each new thing into being. He keeps going, making more and more of this beautiful world. No wonder he needed to rest when his work was complete!
It’s easy to miss that after God made one thing, he made its exact opposite: heavens/earth, day/night, dry land/sea, plants/animals, man/woman. The contrast between each pair brings both into sharper focus and enhances each. We appreciate the warmth of summer more when we’ve had an extremely cold winter.
The balance God created in nature is something he wants for us, too.
I’m from that generation of children who were told to go outside and find something to do. I needed that encouragement – I was perfectly content indoors, reading endless books and responding to the siren song of my family’s new black-and-white TV. But outdoors there were countless adventures to be had and the opportunity to experience toads and tadpoles, hollyhocks and hills, trees and streams, the changing clouds, the night sky – and the sheer wonder of creation.
God wants us to get lost in the wonder of the natural world, to commune with him through his creation, to let our minds wander and consider cosmic questions: Why did God create the world when he knew humans would screw it up? Why did he make me? What does he want me to do? How will I know?
Experiencing nature, and recognizing it as God’s gift, leads us to care about our world and its health. We care about the things we know about. God gave us the world both for our use and our stewardship. Spending time with God outdoors nurtures our understanding that we are called to care for all that he has given us.
Especially on these beautiful spring days, our heavenly Father is telling us: “Go outside and find something to do! I’ll meet you there!”
Creator God, thanks so much for the beauty of the natural world. Help me make time to enjoy this wonderful gift and do my part to care for it. Amen.
Written by Cheryl Stubbendieck
Cheryl Stubbendieck is a member of Sheridan’s Devotion Writing Team. She and her husband Jim live near Sheridan. Their family includes their son Aaron and his wife Chaitra of San Francisco, CA and their son Reed of Madison, WI. Cheryl was the public relations department head for Nebraska Farm Bureau before retiring in 2012. She spent the next four years as the volunteer manager of Barnabas Community and is now participating in Companions in Christ at Sheridan.