Active Faith

The Heavens Declare the Glory of God

Major Donna Leedom finds God’s heart in nature and the instructions He wishes to impart. by Major Donna Leedom

Earth’s crammed with heaven, And every common bush afire with God: But only he who sees takes off his shoes.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Perhaps it is how I am put together or the environment that shaped me that has made God’s revelation of Himself in nature so tangible and powerful in the cultivation of my faith. The agricultural community I grew up in helped to illustrate for me the language and stories of the Bible. In my grandmother’s treasured garden, I was taught about roots, seeds and waiting in faith, about seasons of life and death and rebirth. Along the woodland paths that my mother led me, I learned to search for wildflowers, mushrooms and God, and listen to the lessons of nature that spoke of His wisdom and mysterious ways.

God reveals Himself to me in what He has made. He paints a new canvas with every sunrise and sunset that have at times brought me tears. With every storm, the churning clouds are less of something to fear and more of a display of His power that excites me. The wind is a caress of His hand, a whisper of love. The sun is His smile to bask in until I glow with it. Rain becomes more than a gift of provision for the land; it is a reminder of every blessing He has placed in my life. These words from the Psalms are my reality.

The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display His craftsmanship. Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make Him known. They speak without a sound or word; their voice is never heard. Yet their message has gone throughout the earth, and their words to all the world.

Psalm 19:1-4

His beauty, majesty and authority lives in every bit of what He has made. There is no denying God’s revelation of Himself; He speaks to me through all that He has made. I delight in His voice through nature and find my soul restored in natural places.

It has not been enough to simply enjoy all that He has made. In it, I want to know Him more. I want to find God there and He has not hidden Himself from me. His revelation is awe-inspiring and humbling.

Each precious lesson whispers to me something about my Father’s heart and character. In the garden, He teaches me of miraculous beginnings as bulbs, buried in the fall and crushed by the cold, hard winter soil, produces the most brilliant and joyful colors of spring. What has held the seeds of life has been broken and they are free to be what God intended them to be. He teaches me about unity in diversity as a delightful mixture of species and plants are placed together and support each other in community. He challenges me in my service by helping me discover that some of the loveliest wildflowers can be found in places where the earth is disturbed, where beauty is most needed and least expected. He teaches me to trust His redemptive plan when storms, fires and floods ravage the land of beauty and alter it forever; out of the scars, ashes and mud come the sprouts of something new and maybe altogether different.

There is always, for me, the reminder that His thoughts are not my thoughts, and His ways are not my ways. A night under the stars tells me that there is infinitely more in the universe to discover, and infinitely more than that to know of the God who put it in place. A day spent watching the waves move across the sand reminds me that there is a generous abundance in God, and under the waves I see an astoundingly creative world that has made me gasp in wonder in one moment and giggle in the next. A hike in the mountains or among giant redwoods or sequoias humbles me and can make me wonder with the psalmist, “what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that You care for them?” Yet I know He values me greatly. I, too, am created to reflect God’s character in this world. I am made to join with creation to live as a testimony to His great faithfulness, mercy and love. Invisible elements are pulled together purposefully to create cells and systems, all individually named with a unique DNA. He then gifts His breath, creating a soul that delights and grieves, hopes and fears, and who loves to seek her maker and truest Lover. The Lover who molded every mountain molded my frame. He who carved every canyon knit me together. The God who placed every petal also placed every freckle.

He made my soul a unique masterpiece; made to reflect His glory. Know Him and discover His heart.

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