Sunday, October 14, 2012

Is That You God?

Is it possible to find God in nature?  Can you go into the deep woods and breath him in?  Can you hear him in the chirps and bird songs of an African sunset?  Feel him in the spray of magnificent Niagara Falls?
Sure, you can find God in nature -- enough God to render disbelief in Him impossible.
But you can't find enough God to save you.
This was the answer given to a student who said he "wasn't religious"; he was "spiritual" and that he "found God by going out in the woods."  The student explained, "I don't go to church or anything.  I find God in nature."  The pastor responded graciously and kindly, but directly, and in a way I have never heard before. 
I hear many people say that they "find God in nature." I never really know what to say when I hear this.  I mean, they're right. I can see, hear, feel, find God in nature, too.  In fact, some of the sunrises I see from my backyard are so gorgeous that they appear painted by the very hand of God, not just some scientific intermixing of moisture, sun and gasses.  I've posted a few pictures of them below and I can assure you that they are as I found them, no enhancements, no Photoshop.  Pretty impressive, huh? 
Can you see God in these sunrises?  I can.
But is that all the "God" I need?  Just the feeling these images inspire?  Merely the visual assurance of a great Creator, a Divine Artist?  Nope, I need more.
I need a  God who drops the paintbrush and comes to earth.  I need a God who isn't content with just showing off how cute he can make baby ducks or how lush he can make the rainforest or how many colors he can throw on a tropical fish.  I need more than a  Maui sunset or a Santa Clarita sunrise.
Thankfully, I have it. The all-powerful creative genius God, who made me and everything around me, didn't just make it all and say "it was good" and then leave me and everyone else to enjoy it, use it and even abuse it.  He gave me more than just biology, breath-taking views, beautiful places and baby animals to tug at my heart strings.  He gave His only Son, Jesus.  And when he sent his only Son to earth, he didn't send mankind into the woods to find Him.  The instructions were not to walk up a mountain and look around for a man that looks "spiritual".   He didn't send mankind on a safari with a tour guide who points out the open window of a Jeep and says, "See, there is my Son.  Isn't he attractive? Well, he's got Cheetah speed, too. See if you can chase Him down."
God sent his Son directly to earth, as someone who the prophet Isaiah said was not "a looker" or in today's teen talk, "a hottie."  God could have made him with the looks of Cruise or Clooney and the body of Captain America.  Instead he made him a common Uncommon Man - the Son of Man - God incarnate!  Immanuel - God is with us!  God, who came to us!
He is not out there somewhere. I do not need to find him.  He found me.  Sounds so simple, but it has taken me awhile to realize this.  To believe it.
I wrote an article a year or so ago about "finding God on the mountaintop" where I described how I have wandered around on "the mountain" (a metaphor for life) looking for God, ran into people who tried to point me in the right (or wrong) direction and how I had a few moments with God over the years, but never really FOUND God because I hadn't "been to the top" so to speak, so I just keep wandering, wishing, walking, up, up, up...Are you there, God, at the top? God is that you?  This reminds me of the popular 1980's Judy Blume book for teens: Hello God. It's Me, Margaret.  This was my thinking:  I need to wander up the mountain of life, find God at the top and then like Margaret, introduce myself.
That was my thinking.
It has changed.
I am not wandering around looking for God anymore.
I am not going out into the woods or trying to find him in the clouds, the stars or even on the mountaintop.  My plan is to make it to Hawaii in 2013 and I am not going to ask the tour guide to let me out in the rainforest so I can look, listen and feel for God.
Not that He won't be there.
He will be.
But the saving God I need has already come (Jesus). And He is still here. Not physically.  Not metaphysically either -- not in some "unknowable" petal or the pond or pasture, but in His Spirit which lives in me and works through me. 
I'll let Saint Patrick take it from here:
Christ with me, Christ before me,
Christ behind me, Christ within me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ at my right, Christ at my left,
Christ in breadth, Christ in length, Christ in height.
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me,
Christ in the eye of every man that sees me,
Christ in the ear of every man who hears me.
-Prayer of Saint Patrick (excerpt)

Author: Hope Horner, 2012
Follow on Twitter:  HopeNote

Psalm 19 - Nature demonstrates God's glory:
Psalm 139 - Can't get away from God; there is no where he is NOT so we don't need to find Him:

No comments:

Post a Comment