This has been an unusually wet and cold spring in Ohio. Last week, for a day or two, it seemed like we skipped spring entirely and jumped into the middle of summer. It was hot and humid and not at all spring-like. As I write this, it is back to cold and wet again. Like most of you, I hope for an occasional sunny day just so I can get out and mow my lush, rapidly growing lawn!
I’ve heard plenty of jokes about building arks – but nicer days are coming. I, for one, am looking forward to getting out in the sunshine. I believe God speaks to us in many ways, but one of the most beautiful ways is through the natural world around us. In nature, we see God’s power, creativity and love. That may be the reason many people will tell you they feel closest to God, not in cathedrals or grand church buildings, but when they take a quiet walk in the woods.
Anne Frank, the little girl whose diary was discovered in Germany following World War 2, had this to say about the power of nature: “The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely, or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone with the heavens, nature, and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simply beauty of nature. As long as this exists, and it certainly always will, I know that then there will always be a comfort for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be. And I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles.”
I think it is significant that Jesus often used images from nature in his teaching. So often, he talked about planting and growing and bearing fruit. He said, “Consider the birds of the air… and the lilies of the field….” Jesus pointed to these things to show that God is watching over and talking care of his creation. And we are a part of that creation!
Again this year, we have a hummingbird feeder just outside our kitchen window. For several weeks now the hummingbirds have been back, braving the cold and rain, to feed just a few feet away from our table. Even as we make sure the feeders are filled (the hummingbirds come and remind us if we forget!) and watch lovingly as they come and find nourishment, I know that God is always watching lovingly over me. We serve a loving and grace-filled God. If you’re still not sure of that, go outside and look around! Have a beautiful day!