07 October 2010
As I have mentioned before, I was born and raised on a small farm. Dad’s farm adjoined large tracts of unmolested lands that were free for hiking, biking, hunting, horseback riding and all sort of leisure recreation. I spent my formative years, not behind a desk or on a sports team, but rather in the deciduous woods of western, PA. If I wasn’t hunting or trapping, I was tracking and scouting and learning that terrain like it was the back of may hand. While I knew my Dad owned just a small tract in comparison to the vast forests I roamed, but it sure felt like it was all mine.
I’d see some of the same deer over and over to the point where I’d give them nick-names. I’d visit the same creek crossings and field divides and just sit and watch for hours. I’d stand there in wonder of the wonder. How could such an awesome place exist, and what’s my role in it? I pursued that wonder for a long time. I started college to be a biologist, and then to be a teacher of biology. Then, who knows what happened. I grew. I changed. But I’ve never lost that wonder.
My thoughts that I put to paper today are not meant to draw us into a heart of conservation, or ecology, or to debate the value of recycling or, validity of global warming, or even as our God-given responsibility of stewardship over our natural resources. I write today simply because I cannot look or even consider nature, this world – and not give thanks to God.
It’s called natural revelation. It’s a theological term for God revealing Himself through creation itself. That wonderment that stifled me in the awe of the great outdoors in my youth, was an inner yearning to know God. My God shaped hole was filled by creation. Not just the outdoors and all that it has to offer, but in my children. The birth of our three children drove me to a place of contemplation that I knew I would never be released from until I could reconcile the fact my children were no accident, and that the button noses and toothless smiles were descendant of some Neanderthal-like creature, or worse yet an accident of nature itself when some random strike of lightning impacted a mud-puddle.
When I look over the hills and trees and canyons of this country, I know that nature is not an accident. When I look into the eyes of my children, I know that they are not a result of some cataclysmic storm, but that they were designed, and made in the image of God.
I’m humbled by God, in some small way, nearly every day of my life, and I’m a better man for it. The idea that my intellect can define who God is and how He does things is crazy. The thoughts of His mind, and the reasons that cause things to be done or not done, is so far beyond me that it is almost embarrassing to think that I can even conceive of those thoughts. But, I am made in His image, and all that is made, we are told is for us to care for, enjoy, and use to bring glory to Him.
After all, His work has been done to reconcile us to Him. And not just us, but all creation. All that has been created has been made sinful and dark and spoiled, and placed into an ever-ongoing state of decay, physically and spiritually. Let us be reminded daily to make peace with Him as we are washed by the blood of His sacrifice.
Thank you God for your creation, as it is your creation that has driven me home.