Believe me, you will find more lessons in the woods than in books. Trees and stones will teach you what you cannot learn from masters. (Bernard of Clairvaux)
We just spent a week in Vail, Colorado; and it was the extreme greens, every shade of green you could imagine, and the delicacy of the leaves of the aspens blowing in the breeze beside the roar of the river that caught my attention and reminded my soul of His faithfulness to bring an abundance of green and life in summer, which also points to the promise of a Day that is coming when ALL things are made new (Rev 21:5). Through Creation, the Creator testifies. Every day, right before our eyes, we have this powerful witness in the sunrise, the trees, the grass, the flowers, the rain, the sweet drops of dew upon our windshield, the snow, the sunset, the seasons, the breeze that blows upon our face on a hot summer day, and too many other things to name. All of these are messengers of a God so extravagant that He would give us ten thousand times ten thousand whispers of His heart each day, so we would know God is not so far off, He is not as distant and aloof as we imagine Him to be, but instead that He is good and His mercies endure… yea, they are even new every morning.
Our culture is so entrenched in the tenants of Darwinism that even as Bible-believing Christians, we have espoused a self-governed view of nature. But if we believe that nature could not create itself, how could we possibly believe that nature could govern itself? The Bible is abundantly clear from Genesis to Revelation (see Lev 26:3-4, Job 5:10, Job 37: 6 & 9-13, Neh 9:5-6, Ps 65:7-11, Ps 104:7-13, Ps 104:27-30, Ps 145:16, Ps 147:8 & 15-18, Mt 6:26-30, Mt 10:29, Col 1:17, Heb 1:3, and many other verses) that it is God who makes the flowers grow, the trees live or die, the seasons change, the rains fall, and it is even God who releases the snow from its storehouse (just take a minute to ponder Job 37 the next time we want to complain about a snowstorm).
When my perspective on God’s continuing governance over nature changed, a whole new world of daily gratitude and trust arose in my heart. Day after day, His leadership over creation reminds us of His wonder, His faithfulness, His promises, His love, His zeal, and above all, His mercy. To think that He causes the sun to shine and the rains to fall on the just as well as the unjust… to realize that among people groups who mock Jesus and even despise Him, He still causes beautifully colored flowers of extraordinary fragrance to grow as a witness of His love and mercy just because that’s what our God is like… if we truly ponder that kind of mercy and the lengths to which He goes to reveal His beauty, we cannot possibly ignore Him. All that is left if we truly understand His crazy extravagance is worship and radical obedience. If creation still obeys you, so will I…
When you behold beautiful scenes in the country or along the sea coast, or when you look at flowers or fruit, and are pleased by the sight or the perfume, say: For me God has created these lovely things in this world, that I may love Him. What delights has He not prepared for me in heaven?
There is a story told of a certain holy man, that in passing through the fields he would strike with a little stick the flowers and plants which he found on his way, saying, “Be silent; do not reproach me any longer for my ingratitude to God. I have understood you; be silent; say no more.” (Excerpt from “How to Pray at All Times” by Alphonsus de Liguori)
The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard. 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, which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber and like a strong man, runs its course with joy. (Psalm 19:1-5 ESV)
Jesus actually spun the earth to cause the sun to rise today, just as He has every day before, and we know by its rising that God is faithful. And with that same sunrise, as Psalm 19 points out, we are reminded of a Bridegroom who leaves His chamber to come for His Bride. Yes, He is faithful, o my soul, and yes, He will return – just look at the sun and you will remember His great love! By His hand, the sun will set tonight over your city, and even though darkness creeps in upon us, we are continually reminded of the sun’s unending presence by its reflection on the face of the moon, and thus we know too, that Jesus is there. He never sleeps or slumbers (Ps 121). Jesus will never leave nor forsake you, o my soul, even as you walk through the valley of shadows, know this: the shadows would never be realized if not for His light.
So often, our minds and hearts are assailed with accusations of a God who is distant, aloof, unknowable, and mostly silent. I cannot help but wonder if the introduction of the idea that nature itself is self-governing has only served to cement those dormant, but ever present, agnostic accusations within the Church. Romans 1 says, “For His invisible attributes, namely, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.” The reality is that we are simply without excuse. Those age-old accusations are lies, and even if we miss His voice and presence in the Word, in the person of Christ, and/or by His Spirit whom He has sent, the sunrise and hillsides are crying out day after day. Day after day pours out His speech, and night after night reveals the knowledge of the glory of God (Ps 19).
So today, may our hearts overflow with gratitude and with worship. Jesus is near. He is not far. Go outside and let the whispers of the trees, the song of the sunrise, and the message of the meadows remind you of His unending mercy and unyielding love. By His hand, the earth ran its course and the sun came up again this morning, and none of us doubt that His mercy will orchestrate the very same thing again tomorrow. He opens His hand, and satisfies the desires of every living thing (Ps 145). We won’t have to go out tomorrow and worry that all the birds of the air or the fish in the sea will eat and be sustained, because Jesus will see to each one of them. Not even a sparrow will fall to the ground apart from the Father’s knowledge and will (Matt 10:29). All of creation bears witness of His generosity, His faithful leadership, His zeal for His glory, and His unthinkable mercies. The trees are speaking, the rivers roaring, and the stars are singing of His great worth. And if Creation sings His praises, so will I…
*** At the time of the writing of this devotional, Hillsong has not clarified what the authors of the song, So Will I, intended by the use of the language “evolving in pursuit.” The Worship Initiative, however, does not, in any way, support or condone the perspective of theistic evolution.