The Sacrament of Wonder
Great are the works of the Lord; they are pondered by all who delight in them.
I’ve always loved butterflies. During difficult life seasons, God has used them—and their inherent symbolism of resurrection and new life—to encourage, comfort and teach me. Recently, a friend shared a Radiolab program with me, in which the hosts talked about a butterfly truth I’d never heard: the fact that in their death and re-birth process, caterpillars essentially turn to a mushy, lifeless goo inside their cocoon before they are recreated.
In addition, the hosts noted that scientists discovered caterpillars hold the components that will make up their butterfly essence for their entire lives. However, the butterfly cells (if that’s what they’re called) are the only part of the creature that doesn’t get turned into goo. That aspect never dies.
What an astounding picture of our promise as believers. Our spirits—which have been surrendered to Christ and brought to new life in Him—will survive death and burial. That part of us will never die.
Nature is full of such miracles, but we have to be careful not to be lulled into inattention by technology and busyness. Scripture calls us to appreciate His myriad delightful works. An important part of the stewardship mandate we’ve been given is to simply notice His grand designs and attention to detail—and be moved to awe. After all, no artist wants her labors of love to go unseen or unheard. In Job, God doesn’t answer Job’s questions about suffering and loss; instead, He humbles Job by spending four chapters recounting his glorious creations.
Spring is a perfect time to let God awaken our sense of discovery and wonder. What if, this week, you took a break from work and walked in a park during your lunch break? Note the birds, trees, and flowers. Smell the grass; smile at the children laughing and running on the playground. If you work from home, try to work outside when you can, taking “nature breaks” every so often to walk around the block or look up from your computer screen.
Nature is one of God’s love letters to us. Let’s not let it sit unopened.
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: Do you believe you have a healthy sense of wonder? If not, how could you recapture it? Has nature spoken to you of God and His faithfulness? If so, when? Are there ways you can appreciate His creation more often or deeply?
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank you for the creativity and care you show us through nature. Help us to steward your works well and never take them for granted. As we move about the earth, remind us to pause and appreciate the things you’ve made for our enjoyment. Create in us a new sense of wonder, and renew a thankful spirit in us. Amen.
Stewardship of Creation
The mission of Leave No Trace is to teach “people how to enjoy the outdoors responsibly.” It’s an ethics program based on protection and preservation. Biblical stewardship of the environment respects this high standard, then takes it a step further—adding propagation to the mix. We’re hardwired to create, so when God told us to work the earth and take care of it, he gave us permission to make beauty out of the basic; to turn raw ingredients into art, science, entertainment, and nourishment. How we do this matters greatly, and it starts with responsibility.
Our Stewardship of Creation series at The High Calling explores how daily decisions can leave the world better than we found it. We hope you’ll join us for the conversation.