This Is My Father's World

The Worship Initiative Hymns   —   View Song   —     —   Get the Free Devo App

Play the devotional:

While Maltbie Babcock was ministering in Lockport, New York in the late 1800s, he frequently took walks to the Niagara Escarpment. When he left home he would tell his wife that he was “going to see his Father’s world.” Shortly after his death in 1901, Babcock’s wife published a collection of his writings, including the poem that was then set to music by a close friend. This pairing of lyric and melody would become the hymn we know today.


The heavens declare the glory of God and the sky above His handiwork. - Psalm 19:1


Through Him all things have been made and without Him was not anything made that was made. - John 1:3


In His hands are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to Him. The sea is His for He made it, and His hands formed the dry land. - Psalm 95:4-5


How many are your works, Lord! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. There is the sea, vast and spacious, teeming with creatures beyond number - living things both large and small. - Psalm 104:24-25


For in Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through Him and for Him. - Colossians 1:16


This is my Father’s world, I rest me in the thought

Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas

His hand the wonders wrought.


Creation is singing, shouting, whispering, speaking of the glory of God who made all things. Rocks, rabbits, trees, tigers, flowers, flounders, houses, and the double helix in our DNA…they all want to tell us of the glorious God who made us all. 


Have you ever listened to and been taught by a tree? 


A tree will give glory to God by planting its roots deep in the ground while upward bearing branches and fruit and leaves. It can speak to us of the wisdom of God and the fruitfulness that comes from living in one place for a long time. A tree can teach us of the importance of living connected to a source of life. A tree can teach us about the testing of our faith that leads to a purified and strong heart. Trees that never face strong winds, never develop the flexibility and resilience needed to make it in the real world. 


A bird will give glory to God by building its nest, hatching its young, feeding and nurturing them, and sending them out of the nest. They can speak to us of the wisdom of God and the fruitfulness that comes from living according to our design. A bird that tries to live as anything other than a bird, put simply, will die. A bird can teach us about the protection of God as she covers her young with her wings, protecting them from the elements that would otherwise kill them. 


This is my Father’s world, why should my heart be sad?

The Lord is King, let the heavens ring

God reigns, let the earth be glad!


If God is not good, then it is not cause for gladness that He reigns over all things. If He is not good, then He could be anything - capricious, egotistical, incoherent, wicked, unknowable. But He has revealed His heart to us in His Son who is the exact imprint of His nature. And in His Son Jesus we see kindness, grace, justice, humility, compassion, holiness, and goodness on display. Because this is who God is, we and all of creation can be of good cheer, even though the wrongs of the world are often overwhelming and rattle us to our core. This good-hearted God is the ruler yet.


Creation not only declares the glory of God, but groans as in the pains of childbirth for the redemption of all things - to be set free from the futility we have been subjected to. But there is a time coming when, though soiled by our sins, God will come to make all things new. Our worst ways, our darkest days will pass away as He comes to make His home among us. Until then, He has taken up residence in us - to be a part of the creation that declares the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ; to partner with the heavens in proclaiming His handiwork, and the most glorious of all His works: the atoning, liberating work of his Son on the cross for our sins.


Earth is crammed with heaven,

And every common bush afire with God.

But only the one who sees stops and takes off his shoes.


Stop. Look. Listen to the world He has made.