I’m passionate about being outdoors, but it hasn’t always been that way. My enjoyment of nature once stopped at planting tomatoes and camping in the backyard.
I walked through God’s creation with my eyes closed, and I missed out.
But things changed when I slowed my pace. I braced the cold to watch the sunrise. I tucked away my to-do list and took a walk. I stepped outside of a convenience-oriented home into the wildly beautiful world God created.
Spending more time in nature has taught me three things:
- Nature Reveals a Glory Beyond the Camera
It’s easy to miss nature’s elaborate dance without realizing it. For years, my idea of relishing creation was pressing the shutter button. I came home from mountain vacations with files of photos. My trips to the beach were entirely documented.
But in my attempt to capture glorious landscapes, I was missing another type of glory. Trapped behind my camera lens, God’s glory—revealed through nature—was minimized.
“The glory of God is all around us,” R.C. Sproul wrote, “We cannot miss it. However, we not only fail to stop and smell the flowers, but we also fail to notice the glory of the flowers’ Maker.”[i]
There’s more to nature than snapping and posting photos. Savoring God’s creation means being fully present to breathe in the landscape. It means looking beyond what a lens can capture.
Because God’s glory far surpasses what the eye sees.
O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens (Ps. 8:1).
- Nature Reveals God’s Creativity
When God created man, he placed him in a garden (Gen. 2:8). Gardens are inherently colorful, and I can’t imagine what the Creator’s looked like. I picture sunflowers and poppies and morning glories and wisteria and ivy all climbing toward the trees, and the trees climbing toward the sky, and the sky pregnant with celestial life.
Sin shattered the Garden’s purity, but not beauty altogether. Nothing on earth will satisfy our cravings for perfect beauty, but creation is a portal into true beauty itself: a magnificently creative God.
The world is erupting with colors and creatures. When I spend time in nature, I’m spending time absorbing the utter creativity of a beautiful God.
- Nature Arouses Worship to God
On an unusually warm night last week, I decided to stargaze. I switched off the porch lights and drew in a long breath. Burning suns, a million miles away, pricked the night’s blackness. I stared into Orion’s belt and let my thoughts run.
The God who set the stars ablaze loves me. The Creator whose breath made planets cares about me. This God is infinite. He’s bigger than even this vast sky. He’s my God! He’s Lord of all!
When creation marvels me, it’s because God marvels me more. When the stars seem bright, I know their Creator is far more brilliant. Like David, beholding creation leads me to behold my God.
When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? …O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth (Ps. 8:3-4, 9)!
When creation marvels me, it’s because God marvels me more.
It’s possible to embrace creation’s wonders and not embrace the Creator. I see it all the time in the scientists, astronauts, researchers, explorers and next-door neighbors who simply enjoy nature’s dance.
But I don’t want to stop at the performance. I want to peek behind the curtain to where the Director sits. By basking in God’s creation, I’m glimpsing a sliver of his glory. I’m tasting a crumb of the feast that awaits me in full.
You can too.
Pause to relish it, and nature will arrest your attention. It will personify God’s creativity and inspire you. It will astound you in gorgeous and glorious ways.
Then it will usher you into the presence of a gorgeous and glorious Creator.
[i] R.C. Sproul, The Holiness of God