I never understood people who got all excited about nature. They would say, “I hiked up a mountain and just really felt close to God.” or “I saw the sun set over the ocean and it was like God just…bla, bla, bla.” Hiking just made me sweaty and tired. I was more excited to hang with friends and swim than to watch the sun set. And spring just meant rain, mud, and having to mow the grass. I felt like I was on the outside looking in…at the outdoors.
Then I had a revolution in my heart. God, the Father, started to take shape in my heart as just that…a Father. I have always seen him as a distant judge who wanted to punish me for my sin until Jesus stepped between us. To be honest, I thought He was holding out on me and only giving me what He was obligated to give, because of Jesus, and nothing more.
This was an imbalance of a good idea, namely substitutionary atonement (Jesus died as a substitute for my sin to satisfy God’s wrath), that created a 2 dimensional of a much more complex God. It didn’t take into account His compassion and love, not to mention the fact that Jesus was the “radiance of the Glory of the Father and His exact representation” Hebrews 1:3.
It was ground breaking for me…Jesus and the Father were in it together! Sending Jesus to die was a huge sacrifice for the Father. What good parent wouldn’t rather die than let their child die. So this was a loving plan concocted among the Godhead at great cost to them all.
A funny thing happened as I began to see the Father’s heart and His goodness. Nature came alive. It was like I had a personal spring in my soul. Why are their so many leaves? Do we need them all? Why are there flowers of so many different colors and types? In the abundance of nature, suddenly I saw the Father’s generosity that overflows towards us. In the majesty of nature I saw His immense power. In the complexity and interconnectedness of it all, His wisdom.
So as nature starts to come alive this spring consider meditating on God’s overflowing goodness. Psalm 65 is a good place to start. Here is an excerpt.
9 You visit the earth and water it;
you greatly enrich it;
the river of God is full of water;
you provide their grain,
for so you have prepared it.
10 You water its furrows abundantly,
settling its ridges,
softening it with showers,
and blessing its growth.
11 You crown the year with your bounty;
your wagon tracks overflow with abundance.
12 The pastures of the wilderness overflow,
the hills gird themselves with joy,
13 the meadows clothe themselves with flocks,
the valleys deck themselves with grain,
they shout and sing together for joy.