During a summer job in college, I was blessed to get to spend hours each day walking through nature, being exposed to sights and sounds many may never see. When it is just you and the forest, animals appear that normally would not, you hear things that often get lost in the noise of the day, and you are able to sort through thoughts and ideas that you may otherwise not have time to consider.*
One of my constant thoughts was that the beauty of nature, the unique aspects on the minute scale as well as the large, were not randomly placed together. They work so smoothly, with such grace and awe, they are a tribute to their creator, the Great Artist of our world.
While the different aspects left me in quiet admiration many times, I never thought to stop and worship them for their beauty, unique qualities, or graceful flights and songs. Instead, I often felt small, reminded of how silly we often make things with our pointless worries and whining; how our focus is often taken off the original plan by circumstances which have caused flaws to appear in the initial design. If the Great Artist can plan such large scale workings in such small, accurate detail, who am I to think I know better? What makes me so great as to assume everything around me must stop and focus on my whimsical desires? What makes me worthy of the grace shown in moments of need, when I was not even sure what to ask for?
I stood in the middle of a dry creek and watched water from a two-day-prior rain storm begin to fill the spaces between rocks, getting higher and higher till I had to move; in the middle of a pine forest watching humming birds fly between the trees; silently on top of a hill in a hardwood stand while two baby skunks wrestled and played their way to who knows where; along a hunting trail as a mama turkey tried to distract me from her baby chicks hiding in the nearby grass. I passed old homesteads and new houses; daffodils growing in old forest openings, planted by somebody long gone, and walked through new openings filled with plants, fighting to be the first to reach the now plentiful sunlight.
If these creatures have been provided for, how much more so have we been blessed the the Great Artists’ plan?
This is my Father’s world, and to my listening ears
All nature sings, and round me rings the music of the spheres.
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.
This is my Father’s world, the birds their carols raise,
The morning light, the lily white, declare their Maker’s praise.
This is my Father’s world: He shines in all that’s fair;
In the rustling grass I hear Him pass;
He speaks to me everywhere.
This is my Father’s world. O let me ne’er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet.
This is my Father’s world: the battle is not done:
Jesus Who died shall be satisfied,
And earth and Heav’n be one.
This is my Father’s world, dreaming, I see His face.
I ope my eyes, and in glad surprise cry, “The Lord is in this place.”
This is my Father’s world, from the shining courts above,
The Beloved One, His Only Son,
Came—a pledge of deathless love.
This is my Father’s world, should my heart be ever sad?
The lord is King—let the heavens ring. God reigns—let the earth be glad.
This is my Father’s world. Now closer to Heaven bound,
For dear to God is the earth Christ trod.
No place but is holy ground.
This is my Father’s world. I walk a desert lone.
In a bush ablaze to my wondering gaze God makes His glory known.
This is my Father’s world, a wanderer I may roam
Whate’er my lot, it matters not,
My heart is still at home.
Click here to read a bit of background to this story and see a picture of the song writer.
*While I may have had weeks to “consider my thoughts”, that does not mean I came to a conclusion about everything. Specifically whether I thought my then romantic interest would lead to marriage and what I would say when the time came. Turns out this inconclusive thinking caused great concern for a particular someone sooner than I anticipated, and over a decade later I am still teased about it. Oh well, he can tease me for decades to come if he likes, and I will still do his ironing and cook him peas; both activities that should demonstrate exactly how much I love him. 😉