The Wonders of Nature and the Wonders of GodDaily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
Those who live at the ends of the earth stand in awe of your wonders. From where the sun rises to where it sets, you inspire shouts of joy.
Our translation of Psalm 65:8 reads, "Those who live at the ends of the earth stand in awe of your wonders. From where the sun rises to where it sets, you inspire shouts of joy." The Hebrew word translated here as "wonders" (’ot) might be rendered more literally as "sign" or "symbol." God's wonders are not only the source of amazement. They are not meant to draw attention to themselves. Rather, they are signs that point to the creative power and matchless beauty of God. The wonders of nature illustrate and indicate the wonders of God.
This biblical truth undergirds one of the most central and influential efforts of the organization that sponsors these Daily Reflections. As you may know, the Reflections are part of The High Calling, a ministry that creates digital opportunities for people to have a transformational encounter with God so that they might become agents of divine transformation in the world. The High Calling is a division of Foundations for Laity Renewal (FLR), which sponsors Laity Lodge, Laity Lodge Youth Camp, Laity Lodge Family Camp, and the Laity Lodge Leadership Initiative, in addition to The High Calling. Additionally, one of the oldest and most pivotal works of FLR is the program known as the Foundation Free Camps. Almost sixty years ago, the H. E. Butt Foundation, parent to FLR, purchased a 1900-acre ranch in the Texas Hill Country in order to provide an opportunity for children to experience the wonders of nature so they might glimpse the wonders of God.
Howard E. Butt, Sr., and his wife, Mary Holdsworth Butt, founders of the H. E. Butt Foundation and visionaries behind the Free Camps, were especially eager to welcome children with limited means to these camps because many underprivileged young people had never before experienced God's pristine creation. Throughout the past six decades, thousands upon thousands of children have discovered for the first time the beauty, quiet, inspiration, and delight of God's creation. And, in this discovery, they have glimpsed the God who made it all.
We have been created to love nature. It's part of our human and spiritual DNA. But nature is more than a means for human enjoyment, not to mention sustenance. Nature is also a giant signpost pointing to the One who made it. The "wonders" of nature are indeed "your wonders," God's wonders and signs that help us to know and worship him.
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: What are your favorite natural settings? In what ways does nature help you to know and experience God? What helps you not to make an idol of nature, but rather to let it be a sign pointing to the Creator?
PRAYER: All praise be to you, O God, for the wonders of creation. All praise be to you for the beauty of this world, for the wide expanse of the ocean, for the breathtaking heights of mountains, for the inviting green of lush forests, for the calming stillness of the desert, and for so much more.
As I enjoy the wonders of this world, may they indeed be signs that point to you. Keep me from turning nature into an idol that receives my worship. Instead, may the glories of creation help me to perceive your glories that transcend all perception. Amen.
Image courtesy of Laity Lodge, one of our sister programs in the Foundations for Laity Renewal.